Mass. Senate Weighs Safe Injection Sites as Part of Opioid Response

The Massachusetts Senate is weighing a provision to include supervised injection sites for drug users.

The state Senate is weighing a proposal to experiment with supervised injection sites for drug users in Massachusetts.

The provision is included in a wide-ranging bill scheduled for debate in the Senate on Thursday that would further address the opioid addiction crisis.

Language in the bill authorizes state public health officials to set up a test program for safe injection or "harm reduction" sites as they are more formally known.

At those sites, individuals with substance use disorders could inject drugs obtained elsewhere. Health care professionals would be around to prevent fatal overdoses and offer counseling and treatment referrals to drug users.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is among those strongly opposed to safe injection sites, which have also been proposed though not yet established in other U.S. cities.

"The evidence is clear that sanctioning heroin injection facilities does not reduce overdose deaths and these facilities are not a responsible tool  to combat the opioid epidemic," Baker said in a written statement Thursday.

Baker cited Vancouver, Canada, where supervised injection facillities exist but the city has continued to see an increase in overdose deaths.     

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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