“[What] mattered to all of us was bringing more awareness to students about what is happening right here in Ithaca,” Winnie Ho ’19, a member of APO, explained as she introduced the panelists with Delmar Fears ’19, Engaged Ambassador, and Matthew Guo ’20, president of Medife. “We are aware of what’s going on in our own lives but we fail to see what is happening around us.”
Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 wrote a letter to Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo last spring, offering his solution to a problem that no state seems to be able to shake: the opioid epidemic. In his May 16 plea, Myrick included stark data about the way opioids have gripped the city and the county; he noted correctly that 2017 was the “deadliest year for fatal overdoses on record” in Ithaca and that 55.3 of every 100,000 emergency room visits and 15.2 of every 100,000 hospitalizations were overdose-related in Tompkins County in 2016. The mayor’s solution is to allow individuals to legally inject heroin in the city under city government supervision. While federal and other legal challenges almost certainly linger, he wants the governor to approve his plan. Myrick argues that his proposal, “The Ithaca Plan,” lowers fatalities and gives addicts a better opportunity to seek help, though it almost certainly violates both international and domestic drug control laws.
According to a copy of the letter shared with The Sun, Myrick said that the inspiration behind his letter was a letter sent to Gov. Cuomo by New York City Deputy Mayor Herminia Palacio earlier this month requesting the approval of four similar injection sites in the city.