HeeJin Cheon '16 speaks in favor of The Ithaca Plan at a public debate last week.

Karly Krasnow / Sun Staff Photographer

HeeJin Cheon '16 speaks in favor of The Ithaca Plan at a public debate last week.

April 24, 2016

Students Weigh Potential Advantages, Drawbacks of The Ithaca Plan

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Correction appended 

In a public debate, four students from the student organization Debate in Science and Health argued the case for and against The Ithaca Plan — which includes the proposed creation of a heroin injection clinics to treat addicts.

The plan, proposed by Mayor Svante Myrick ’09, proposes that addicts be given clean equipment and supervised in drug consumption in order to prevent overdose deaths and the spread of diseases such as HIV and AIDS.

Prof. Harris Warrick, biological sciences, provided background information on how heroin affects the brain at the forum.

“Heroin is about twice as potent as morphine, because of the way it gets into the brain,” he said. “Once it’s in the brain, its effects are the same as those of morphine.”

Warrick stressed that heroin usage is serious saying nearly 10,000 users die from the drug every year in the United States.

After Warrick concluded his discussion on the consequences of using heroin, students began the debate.

HeeJin Cheon ’16 said she believes heroin is a significant problem in Ithaca and that “the war on drugs has failed.”

“Harm reduction should be our overall goal,” Cheon said.

A harm reduction facility in Vancouver, Canada has successfully implemented policies similar to the one proposed in the Ithaca Plan, according to Mario Velado ’17.

“In a study out of Vancouver, 800 per day go to these facilities,” Velado said. “Several overdose, [but] nobody dies. The facts are that these facilities work.”

Kuanzian Leong ’17 argued that more people will begin to use heroin if they believe there is a safe place to use it.

“You increase the chance that people will try drugs in the first place because they believe there is a cure,” Leong said.

Alex Chakrin ’17, who is a staff writer for The Sun, added that the injection clinic might shift government funds away from rehabilitation clinics.

“We think that the optimal goal should be rehab,” Chakrin said.

A previous version of this story attributed a quote criticizing the Ithaca Plan to Richard Chen ’18. The statement was in fact made by Kuanzian Leong ’17.

  • Dumbest Shit All Day

    “Several overdose, [but] nobody dies. The facts are that these facilities work.” – Velado

    This would be my definition of NOT working. The goal should be to reduce the number of drug addicts, not enable them to comfortably continue! How fucking stupid can we possibly get? When will we stop being blinded by ideology and exhibit some intellectual honesty for a change.

  • Dave Williams, ’75, ’94

    Yes, by all means, let’s invite every heroin addict in the Northeast to come to Ithaca, where decent jobs and affordable housing are all SO easily available. Think of the amazing contributions these fine upstanding people will make to the social, intellectual, cultural, and artistic life of the town. I mean, they’ve already shown outstanding judgment by becoming, you know, HEROIN ADDICTS. What could go wrong? *sarc button off*.
    A state-sponsored shooting gallery is an idea so stupid only an intellectual could support it. If America really wanted to solve its heroin problem, it would do what Singapore does, which is treat addicts and execute pushers. Singapore does NOT have a heroin problem. But modern Oprahfied American culture hasn’t the guts to follow that path, so we must endure not only hordes of addicts but idiotic proposals polluting our lives, for the foreseeable future.