California Safe Injection Site Legislation Passed by Legislature
The California Legislature has voted in favor of a bill to allow San Francisco to move forward with a three-year pilot program allowing for the establishment of safe drug injection sites.
Assembly Bill 186, sponsored by Assembly member Susan Talamantes Eggman and co-sponsored by Senator Scott Wiener, passed the Senate last week by a vote of 21 to 16. In June it was given approval by the Assembly 41 go 33, and on Monday the Assembly concurred with changes made in the Senate, This means it will soon be sent to Governor Jerry Brown for final consideration.
According to the bill’s official summary, it “Authorizes the City and County of San Francisco to approve entities to operate an overdose prevention program for adults supervised by healthcare professionals or other trained staff where people who use drugs can safely consume drugs and get access to referrals to addiction treatment.” The measure establishes a sunset date of January 1, 2022.
“Overdose prevention services are proven harm reduction services that are effective at linking people who use drugs to treatment and other services, reducing overdose deaths, preventing transmission of HIV and viral hepatitis, and reducing street-based drug use and syringe disposal”, states the Drug Policy Alliance in a recent press release. “Research has shown that people who access these programs are more likely to enter treatment and more likely to stop using drugs. Support is growing rapidly across the country for these services in the face of dramatic increases in drug overdose deaths.”
Similar legislation has been introduced in Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York, and New York, Philadelphia, and Seattle are in the process of opening sites.