State commission recommends safe injection sites in Massachusetts

Hampden County

More than 2,000 people in Massachusetts died from drug overdoses last year.

Tapestry runs syringe access programs in all four Western Massachusetts counties. They believe safe injection sites could prevent overdose deaths.  

“More and more people are dying each year and I think we need to think of any solution that will help keep people alive until they are ready to access treatment,” said Liz Whynott, Tapestry HIV Health and Prevention director.

So-called supervised consumption sites offer medical supervision, treatment options and fixed doses to injection-drug addicts. 

The State’s Harm Reduction Commission said that safe injection sites could be a way to help fight the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts, but those who are against them believe they send a bad message to young people by implying opioids are ok to use. 

“It’s almost like a hidden message or a subliminal message that says its fine if you want to use opioids, said Maria Furlow of Windsor, CT. “For those who don’t use it, well it might perk up curiosity.” 

Springfield Health Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris said a lot more research needs to be done before the city even considers welcoming safe injection sites. 

“Without having detailed information about safe injection sites, what it means for the city of Springfield, how it would be managed, at this point I’d be opposed to safe injection sites,” said Springfield Health Commissioner, Helen Caulton-Harris.  

Federal prosecutors recently filed a civil lawsuit against a proposed safe injection site in Philadelphia. U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling said they would violate federal law here.

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