SACRAMENTO (CNS) — Los Angeles could soon become one of three California cities to offer supervised injection sites under legislation passed Monday by the state Senate and headed for Governor Gavin Newsom’s office.
Newsom said in 2018 that he was “very, very open” to the idea of a pilot program to allow legal injection sites for drugs, and he split with his predecessor Jerry Brown, who vetoed a similar bill that same year.
The bill, authored by D-San Francisco Senator Scott Wiener, passed the state Senate by 21-11 votes Monday.
It would enable the city and county of Los Angeles — along with San Francisco and Oakland — to provide spaces where people can consume pre-purchased medications with clean needles.
Trained professionals would be on site with supplies such as Narcan to assist in the event of an overdose.
According to a July 2021 report from the county, accidental drug overdose deaths in Los Angeles County increased by 52% during the first 10 months of the pandemic compared to the same period in 2019.
“We are seeing an escalation in overdose deaths,” Wiener wrote on Twitter. “These sites are a proven strategy for saving lives and getting people into treatment. It’s time.”
Councilor Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, disagreed, writing on Twitter after the vote: “California’s solution to the fentanyl crisis is not to secure the border or punish vendors, but to open legal injection centers in our cities. “
The pilot program would last until 2027, with annual reports being delivered to the jurisdiction.
Each jurisdiction would also fund a peer-reviewed study into the effectiveness of the program.
Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.
Copyright © 2022 by City News Service, Inc. All rights reserved.