‘It keeps us safe’: An NYC bathroom set up to stem overdoses

NEW YORK (AP) — At a Brooklyn storefront, people sign up to use a bathroom outfitted to try to curb the drug overdose crisis.

They’ll be checked on, by intercom, about every three minutes while in the restroom at this needle exchange program, called VOCAL-NY. If there’s no response, a staffer will unlock the door and come in, ready with anti-overdose medication.

VOCAL-NY says in eight years, a few people have overdosed but all have been rescued.

Monitored bathrooms like this are quietly providing something of an example as U.S. communities debate allowing more full-fledged — and controversial — safe havens for people to take heroin and other narcotics.

Cities including New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle are seeking to open such facilities, while some counties and cities have banned them.

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