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    Ithaca Residents Torn on Ithaca Plan


    According to the Centers for Disease Control, heroin use has greatly increased throughout the United States. The question on everyone’s minds is, if it is growing so much, how can it be stopped?

    Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick has a new plan that answers that question for the city of Ithaca. It is called “The Ithaca Plan,” and it is a 62-page document laying out his administration’s new idea for combatting the drug problem.

    The main focus of this plan is to start treating drug addiction as a health issue and not a legal one, a major shift from what most of the United States does currently.  One of the ways to do that would be to create a safe place for heroin addicts. This would be a supervised area where heroin addicts could go, away from dirty needles and other threats that might get to them on the streets.  Ithaca Times

    This part of the plan has gained Ithaca and Myrick national attention. News outlets ranging from CNN and NPR to Fox News have all picked up the story. Much like the places covering the story, local community members are torn on the idea.

    In a survey of Ithaca residents conducted via social media on the Plan, 63.2 percent of people said they were for the Ithaca Plan, while 36.8 percent said they were against it.

    Ithaca College students Shoshana Tamir and Jessica Bursen believe that the plan might be a step in the right direction.

    “I think it’s a great idea,” Tamir said.There are so many times when people get thrown into jail or are increasingly fined for doing drugs and that’s part of the problem. They don’t have money. They don’t have time. I just think this is the way to fix the drug problem.”

    Others in the town think that although this might be a start, the problem is going to persist. Ithaca resident Anne Kilgor has a different take on the plan and what it will accomplish.

    “For whatever reasons [people] are enjoying drugs,” Kilgor said.Usually it’s not because it’s such a good time; it’s usually because it’s self medication. So, putting it in a semi-clinical setting is not the worst idea. But I don’t know how they’re going to figure out how to get people to want to stop killing themselves.”Multi Bar Graph copy

    Despite a split community, Myrick and his administration are staying strong in their opinion that this will help. The Plan is continuing to move forward, and Myrick is finding supporters where he can to help get this plan through. 

    “We’ve made progress on all of them, including supervised injection facilities,” Myrick said. “We need to get it legalized through the state legislature. We’ve got a sponsor in the Assembly, we’ve got a sponsor in the Senate and they’ll introduce those in the legislative session next year, which is exciting.”Ithaca Residents for or against the Ithaca Plan

    According to Myrick, another step they must consider is training local law enforcement to respond much differently to a heroin call than they have previously.  Responses now will consist of bringing them to a medical professional or one of these safe sites instead of to a cell.Screen Shot 2016-11-11 at 4.08.13 PM

    In a news conference back in March, Myrick said that was part of the reason he came up with this plan.

    “We don’t treat anyone until it is an emergency,” Myrick said.

    Wherever the community stands on the issue, residents can expect to see the Supervised Injection Site moving forward. According to Myrick, plans are in place, and a location is already chosen. As of now, it is a matter of time and resources to bring the Plan to fruition.  


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