Lawmakers are considering a bill to create two ‘Safer Drug Use Facilities’ in the state to prevent overdose deaths and infectious diseases.
The facilities would provide safe and secure locations for people to self-administer previously obtained drugs.
Health care personnel and other trained staff would be on-hand to provide information regarding overdoses as well as administer first aid if needed.
The bill would create a tolerance zone of a half-mile around the facility where clients and staff could not be arrested.
The bill’s sponsor says it’s part of the solution to the opioid crisis and it’s used elsewhere in the world with success.
“When we look at this crisis, in my mind it’s similar to the AIDS crisis of the late 19080’s and early 1990’s. people are dying- but in a lot of ways we look at the folks not as victims but as responsible for their own deaths by their actions. And so we need to stop looking at this as blaming the victims, but really looking at this as a disease that needs to be treated,” said Rep. Mike Sylvester, (D) the bill’s sponsor.
Opponents of the bill, including the Department of Health and Human Services, have concerns over violating federal law and fear it normalizes drug addiction.