A woman in the apartment, who also didn’t want to be identified, chimed in: “I understand, but what are you supposed to do? If someone isn’t able or ready to go to treatment — should they die?”
Even the founder of the Church of Safe Injection, Jesse Harvey, 26, acknowledges that he’s struggled with the same questions. But he says working in addiction recovery has made him frustrated by the deaths and barriers to treatment. He says there are criteria to becoming a legitimate syringe exchange program that he’s not likely to meet, so he started this church.
Harvey says there are now 18 chapters of the Church of Safe Injection in eight states — all of them funded by private, anonymous donations. Each one is independent but must abide by three rules: to welcome all people of all faiths, to serve all marginalized people and to support harm reduction.
But he says the group is not supporting legalizing drugs.
“We’re not saying it’s our religious belief to use heroin. No, not at all,” Harvey said. “We’re saying that it’s our sincerely held religious belief that people who use drugs don’t deserve to die when there are decades of solutions.”
Volunteers for a group handing out clean drug-using supplies across the U.S. could be arrested for doing so –– but they say they’re stepping up given the sheer number of opioid overdose deaths and the public health system’s failure.https://t.co/PqHi3T7q5i
— NPR (@NPR) February 12, 2019