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NYC approves used-needle buyback program for drug users

The bill was pushed by socialist and progressive city council members, and will give addicts twenty cents per piece of drug paraphernalia they turn in, with a maximum cap of $10 per day.

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Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
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New York City Council has been accused by Democrat and Republican members alike of perpetuating the drug crisis after a bill was passed to facilitate a program wherein people could exchange dirty needles, syringes, and the like for financial rewards.

The bill was pushed by socialist and progressive city council members, and will give addicts twenty cents per piece of drug paraphernalia they turn in, with a maximum cap of $10 per day.

"It's not going to benefit the person who is the drug addict who is using the needles," GOP councilman Joann Ariola said. "It could be harmful to the person who is collecting these needles."

Democratic councilman Robert Holden slammed the city for "perpetuating the problem by giving drug abusers money to continue their habits … instead of focusing on resolving addiction."

"This will be another taxpayer-funded boondoggle and will only make matters worse," he added.

Some, such as Council Minority Leader Joseph Borelli, warned that not enough consideration had been paid to what addicts would do with the money. He suggested that many would simply "round up the $10 max payment worth of his pal’s needles to buy more drugs."

According to City Council, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has been tasked with establishing a pilot project "to offer financial incentives for the return of needles, syringes, and sharps used for non-medical consumption at locations in the 5 highest-need council districts." The program is set to begin in the next month or so, and will run for one year.

Mayor Eric Adams does not have the option to veto the bill when it arrives on his desk, as it passed by a 40-6 margin. According to the New York Post, however, the mayor appears to be in agreement with the plan.

"Addressing the opioid crisis that has taken far too many lives is a top priority of the Adams administration," his spokeswoman said, "and we look forward to working with our partners in the City Council to continue building a safer and healthier city."

New York City's drug problem has only gotten worse in recent years, as addicts are coddled by the system instead of being urged to get help. This, compounded with the growing mental health crisis, has led to a rise in crime as well.

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