Massachusetts lawmakers considering supervised injection site pilot program

Hampshire County

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – After Rhode Island became the first state in the country to approve supervised injection sites last week, Massachusetts might not be far behind.

On Friday, state lawmakers during a legislative briefing said now that the state of emergency is over for the pandemic, this is the time to take action against the opioid epidemic.

“We know we have the opportunity to save lives. The only question is what’s taking so long to do that,” said Representative Marjorie Decker.

Right now, legislation in both the House and the Senate is being proposed that creates a pilot program for two supervised injection sites in the state. People would be able to ingest substances like heroin under medical supervision.

“There’s a wealth of evidence that shows that safer consumption sites do prevent fatal overdoses from happening,” said Liz Whynott, the Director of Harm Reduction at Tapestry, who spoke with 22News after watching Friday’s legislative briefing.

Whynott said Tapestry already offers unused syringes and disposal sites as well as Narcan, but she hopes they can eventually take it a step further.

“Unfortunately, we have seen people who have left our site and never come back because they’ve died of a fatal overdose,” said Whynott. “Tapestry would definitely consider offering a service because it’s just the responsible right thing to do.”

This as the CDC announced this week 93,000 people died in 2020 from an overdose, more than 2,000 from Massachusetts. An epidemic that’s been more than just numbers but also names.

“I lost my daughter Eliza on her 26th birthday from [an accidental] fentanyl heroin overdose after she had been in recovery for over ten months,” said Cara Moser a co-founder of Friends of Safehouse. “And it was that day that I became a diligent student of harm reduction.”

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