Once again, I have looked at an episode from the Buzzfeed Netflix Docu-series, Follow This. The episode I will be discussing today is from Part 1 entitled “Life Support.” In my last article I gave an overview of the episode with key facts and statistics it highlighted. This time I will be taking a different approach—using the subject matter of the episode as a talking point, rather then what the episode has to offer, or lack thereof. The topic of this video is safe injection zones—places where someone addicted to opiates (most commonly heroin) could have a “safe” space to inject themselves with their drug of choice.
What can be gleaned from testimonials of users in the video is that safe injection zones provide a sense of security over injecting in the streets. The zones are said to be clean and provide assistant to prevent someone from overdosing. This has become a hot topic in Seattle, WA, as it has the chance to become the first place in America to allow these safe injection zones. There are a few concerns I have, however, from the video alone.
These concerns I am discussing are from just the video—so not including outside sources, just evaluating the video on its own merit. Safe Injection zones are not a type of recovery, they do not discourage use of the drug, while through anecdotal evidence the video claims these sites have people with compassion and support, the bottom line is still that these are not sites for rehab, detoxication, or recovery. The goal of these zones is to help reduce death from overdose, but the reality is the users of the zone will walk out back on the streets with their addiction—the video makes the assumption that users will always inject in these zones, which is hard to believe, as the nature of addiction would warrant the thought that users wouldn’t necessarily “wait” to get their high, since the basis of addiction is not choice. This is one of my biggest issues with how the video presents the topic, since safe injection zones aren’t recovery but rather a “sanctuary” of sorts to shoot up, the zones can do nothing to follow-up with users or ensure their safety outside of the zone.
The most glaring issue I have with the video is that it provides anecdotal evidence and is heavy on the pathos—there are no statistics or studies presented in the video and any mention of research is glossed over, for example the narrator of the video mentions that the research from “peer reviewed science” journals claims that safe injection zones reduce death and usage, but there are no specific sources cited. While this could be true, a viewer should not have to do the work for the video. With no definitive evidence or research, the video does nothing to genuinely address the negatives of safe injection zones. The video holds a strong bias in support of safe injection zones by showing many emotional stories to try and have the viewer sympathize enough that anyone with a differing opinion should be ashamed.
While there are opponents shown in the video, there still is no research or statistics presented that support or bash safe injection zones. It’s interesting because the video from my last article is from the same series, but a lot more informative and trustworthy.
I am concerned that the proposed safe injection sites are merely enabling opiate addiction instead of helping to find recovery. What are your opinions? Below are articles discussing the current state of safe injection zones.