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Establish Drug-Injection Facilities for Opioid Addicts, Massachusetts Legislative Committee Says

May 16, 2020

A legislative committee has endorsed a bill that would establish at least two places in Massachusetts for consuming illegal drugs.

The bill calls upon the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to create a 10-year pilot program for at least two so-called safe injection facilities, where drug addicts could inject heroin and other opioids under the supervision of health professionals who could intervene in case of an overdose.

The measure, Massachusetts Senate Bill 1134, is called “An Act Relative To Supervised Injection Facilities.”

The Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery of the Massachusetts Legislature favorably reported the bill Friday, May 15, according to a press release from the committee co-chairmen, state Representative Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge) and state Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro).

Supporters of such sites say they save lives by preventing fatal overdoses and the use of dirty needles. Opponents say they promote harmful drug use and degrade neighborhoods.

Governor Charlie Baker has said he opposes state-sanctioned drug injection sites, pointing to U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s public statements that they violate federal law and that he would prosecute anyone who opens one.

According to State House News Service, it is unclear where House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) and Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland). The bill won’t process to the floor of either chamber without the assent of that chamber’s leader.

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