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Go Ahead, Shoot Up — City to Fight Heroin By Allowing It

ITHACA, New York -- We've all heard the saying, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Well, we're about to take that saying to a whole new level.

Welcome to Ithaca, New York. Ithaca is a city with a booming economy, low unemployment rate and a big heroin problem. To battle the problem, Mayor Svanter Myrick wants to set up the nation's first safe injection facility where users can shoot up while supervised.

They can then go on about their day -- without being arrested.

The city has had 11 deaths from opioid overdoses since 2005 and for the mayor, that's 11 to many.

The idea seems crazy but places like this already exist around the world, some for decades. It just doesn't exist in the United States. At least, not yet.

Myrick believes the sites will draw addicts out from public restrooms, rundown buildings and alleys, bringing them into a supervised spot with clean needles and quick overdose treatment if needed.

Studies in Australia and Canada, where controlled sites exist, have shown a reduction in trafficking and overdose.

But that doesn't mean everyone is on board. Congress would have to change the Controlled Substance Act, which prohibits possession of drugs like heroin and make exceptions for the sites. That isn't happening anytime soon.

So it'll be a while before any injection site pops up in your neighborhood.