NYC’s recent health campaign sparked outrage when hundreds of public health signs were found on the city’s subway system, calling for the “empowerment“ of intravenous drug users through education for proper self-administering.
The campaign was created by the public health organization NYCHealthy.
It shared a photo of one of the signs on its Twitter feed, claiming users should not be ashamed of their addiction and “using safely“ was key.
Health officials spark outrage with controversial poster
Aside from these “empowering” phrases, the sign also contained a handful of tips for those who wanted to learn more about the “safe” use of intravenous drugs, with a separate section for fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a powerful opioid drug that’s commonly used to lace drugs such as heroin, cocaine, meth, and ketamine.
It’s known to be lethal in minuscule doses, especially among those who aren’t common opioid users.
No, @nycHealthy, heroin addiction is not empowering
This is the opposite of “harm reduction.” This normalizes injecting deadly life-changing drugs
“avoid using alone” 🤔
“Start w small doses” 👀
“Using safely” 😳
This is twisted
— Joe Borelli (@JoeBorelliNYC) May 27, 2022
The drug significantly increases the risk of an overdose.
Even if it doesn’t kill the user, research has shown minimum amounts of it can be 50 times stronger than heroin and up to 100 times stronger than morphine.
The section that follows lists a couple of steps to ensure safe usage and empowerment during the administering of these drugs, with the first point on the list being that using alone should be avoided at all costs.
Joe Borelli points out the obvious
Hilariously enough, the sharing of needles is the most common cause of the transfer of diseases, such as Hepatitis and AIDS.
The public was quick to point this out, taking their opinions to Twitter and criticizing the organization behind the signs, NYCHealthy, for its misleading and dangerous information.
This is how the right to refuse help works in NYC:
1️⃣A drug addicted man passes out on the street.
2️⃣Someone calls 911
4️⃣ Man tells paramedics to get lost
5️⃣ Man goes back to his life of doing drugs, panhandling and blocking the subway stairs pic.twitter.com/KDWPwvK9We
— Jason Curtis Anderson (@JCAndersonNYC) May 27, 2022
NYC Council’s Minority Leader Joe Borelli commented on the signs with his own Twitter post, claiming the move to be the exact opposite of harm reduction; it normalizes the usage of deadly, mind-altering drugs.
Additionally, there’s no evidence of the MTA supporting their riders administering intravenous drugs in the subway system. This is what the poster implies both directly and indirectly with its very specific placement.
Doug Powers weighed in on the matter, slamming the city’s officials for shutting down gyms and churches, but letting liquor stores run 24/7, while simultaneously promoting heroin usage.
NYC is putting up these posters to make drug addicts feel better about using drugs. pic.twitter.com/R8ZlqEaGsb
— SandyBeaches69 (@SandyBeaches69S) May 27, 2022
In response, the NYC Health Department acknowledged the rapidly increasing amounts of fentanyl in confiscated drugs are a major problem in New York City and that it’s been the main cause behind surging overdose-related deaths.
In fact, it’s gotten to the point where fentanyl is the most common drug involved in these deaths, with there being nearly 1,600 deaths in 2020 involving the drug in NYC alone.
Clearly, health officials have run out of ideas on how to fight a real pandemic that takes far more lives than anything we’ve encountered in the past.