opioid crisis

Mass. Lawmakers Propose Pilot Program for Safe Injection Sites

Data shows that more than 2,000 people in Massachusetts died from an overdose over the last year

NBC Universal, Inc.

Lawmakers will introduce a decade-long pilot program Friday to establish at least two safe injection sites in Massachusetts, a place where people can inject illicit drugs under medical supervision.

Reps. Dylan Fernandes and Marjorie Decker, Sen. Julian Cyr and the Massachusetts for Supervised Consumption Sites Coalition will host a virtual briefing at 1 p.m. on the legislation. The proposed 10-year pilot program is intended to reduce overdose deaths by giving people a safe place to use drugs and provide more access to addiction treatment.

Under the bill, staff would educate people on how to safely use needles, dispose of them, prevent an overdose and provide access to treatment.

Over the last year, the opioid crisis has gotten dramatically worse. Data shows that more than 2,000 people in Massachusetts alone died from an overdose.

Safe injection sites are currently illegal under federal law. Gov. Charlie Baker has publicly opposed the notion and said he wants to remain focused on legal, evidence-based approaches.

The city of Somerville in June decided to move ahead with its plans to explore the idea of opening a supervised consumption site. Mayor Joseph Curtatone introduced the idea in Somerville three years ago. He is considering locations for a site on the east side or in Davis Square.

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