Public health officials in Massachusetts are seeking organizations to set up centers where people can be monitored after using illicit drugs.
These planned "medical observation and monitoring services" would be staffed by nurses and other clinicians, who would monitor the clients' vital signs, administer oxygen, intravenous fluids, and the overdose-reversing drug naloxone if necessary, the Boston Globe reported Wednesday.
The clients will be able to remain anonymous and receive counseling, treatment for infections and wounds, and help with obtaining primary health care and addiction treatment.
People will not be allowed to use drugs inside these centers, a marked difference from the concept of "safe consumption sites."
The state's Department of Public Health is seeking bids to create three to five monitoring sites. Each would serve five to 10 people who have taken too much of a sedative, such as heroin or fentanyl, or a stimulant, such as cocaine or methamphetamine. The site locations have not yet been determined.
The observation centers were part of a $5 million item in the state budget, which charges the public health department with promoting "harm reduction" to reduce the bad consequences of drug use.