Ronald Reagan declared "War on Drugs" in the early ‘80s and wife, Nancy, turned it into a catchy campaign with the simple phrase "Just Say No." However, not everyone has the power to just say no and even Sarah Palin admits their approach wasn’t the most effective.
A mayor in upstate New York also realized this, which is why he wants to establish the country’s first supervised injection facility. According to the Associated Press, addicts can shoot up under the supervision of a nurse without the worry of overdosing or getting arrested.
As the son of an addict, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick has a deep understanding of why such a place is so necessary. "My father was a drug addict. He split from the family when I was 5, 6 years old," he said. "I have watched for 20 years this system that just doesn't work. We can't wait anymore for the federal government. We have people shooting up in alleys. In bathroom stalls. And too many of them are dying."
Canada, Europe and Australia are already experimenting with these types of facilities as a way of reducing overdose deaths. In New York, fatalities related to drug overdoses increased from 186 in 2003 to 914 in 2012. Just last week, Nathan Barksdale (the inspiration behind several characters in the beloved HBO drama The Wire) died in prison after relapsing with heroin.