Two uptown Manhattan overdose prevention centers run by OnPoint, a local nonprofit, are flashpoints in New York City’s debate about how to handle drugs and drug overdoses. The sites, which formally opened in November 2021, are the first of their kind in the nation: They go beyond needle exchanges to offer drug users indoor “supervised consumption” — meaning, if they overdose on opioids, trained staff is equipped with naloxone to revive them.

The man at the center of the storm is OnPoint Executive Director Sam Rivera, who’s worked with people struggling with addiction for 30 years. We spoke with him in December. The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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