First NYC. Now Chicago. Stop normalizing drug use.
***If you or a loved one are addicted to drugs please seek help. There is no safe way to take drugs. Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357. It is staffed 365/24/7. Cities have treatment centers, too. You are not alone. There are people out there, even strangers, who are willing to help you.
The Chicago Health Department asked people attending Lollapalooza to test their drugs for fentanyl.
Narcan and fentanyl test strips can also be picked up at Chicago Public Libraries in easy to access Narcan dispenser kits.
— CDPH | Chicago Department of Public Health (@ChiPublicHealth) July 27, 2022
You place a small amount of the substance on the test strip. It will become a color if it has fentanyl.
You spray Narcan up a person’s nose if they overdose on an opioid.
I mean, everyone knows there’s drug abuse at Lollapalooza. There’s drug abuse at every music festival. Authorities can only do so much.
But at the same time..public-funded Narcan, and yes, the signs could encourage people to do drugs. You will likely use it no matter what, but I bet it will influence some to experiment.
Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady defended her decision:
Arwady said her department is all about “eliminating health risks” — and that means “all health risks,” including drug overdoses.
“We regularly see — and have for years — that young people who attend festivals often are feeling very free and often experiment … with illicit substances. The problem is that so many of those illicit substances now are laced with fentanyl. Fentanyl is a very strong opioid,” Arwady said.
For people who are “routinely” on “very strong medications” or using heroin, taking a drug laced with fentanyl is “dangerous, but probably not fatal,” the commissioner said. But, there’s a caveat.
“If you have a young person … who does not routinely use opioids and they experiment with a substance — even one that they think is something that their friend is giving them — we are increasingly seeing fentanyl laced into those substances. People think this is just gonna be a pill that helps them have fun,” Arwady said.
But then Arwady said she would choose someone knowing and having Narcon over one who knows CPR:
“Honestly, if I had — given how much of a problem we’re having with opioid overdose — a choice between everybody knowing CPR and everybody knowing how to use and carrying Narcan, I would probably choose Narcan. Especially in groups that are younger. We also have that available [at the festival] free.”
Um, what? CPR is pretty damn important!
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot sent a different message:
“I feel compelled, as the mother of a 14-year-old to say, ‘Don’t even experiment. Don’t pick it up. Don’t try it. Go there. Have fun. But using illicit drugs is a huge risk. And frankly, you don’t know if you’re one of those folks who is predisposed to addiction,” Lightfoot said to a smattering of nervous laughter.
“So, I would just say, ‘Go. Have fun. But leave the drugs to the side. Don’t do it.”
Lightfoot said she plans to attend the festival. She didn’t say whether she plans to accompany her daughter, Vivian.
“I’ll be there tonight to kick it off. There’s a couple of artists that I want to see. I’m looking forward to seeing Dua Lipa [on Friday] … and we have some special things planned for Sunday to kick off the K-Pop artist who’s coming,” said the mayor, a huge music fan.
New York City recently had a sign telling people they should feel “empowered” because they use drugs “safely.”
How about we not normalize drug use? As I said, I get the sentiment behind “don’t be ashamed.” Don’t dehumanize the addicts. They need love, help, and compassion.
But don’t make them think it’s okay because it’s not.
The NYC poster had the same tips on it: don’t use alone, test your drugs, use Narcan, etc.DONATE
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