Massachusetts lawmakers considering supervised injection sites

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BOSTON (WWLP) – Over 900 people have died from opioid-related deaths in the first half of 2017, according to the Department of Public Health. Lawmakers continue to search for new ways to combat the deadly opioid addiction crisis.

“It’s the presence of fentanyl that has really driven up our overdose rates in Massachusetts,” said State Senator William Brownsberger (D-Belmont). “A lot of people are using these drugs and dying.”

One proposed strategy is to implement what one bill refers to as a “safer drug consumption program.” Brownsberger filed the bill that would provide a space for people to use pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of health care professionals.

Supreme Judicial Court ruling allows privately run needle exchange programs

The facilities could also provide needle exchanges, overdose prevention services and referrals to treatment.

Opponents of the bill question if the program would save people but rather keep them addicted to dangerous drugs. But Brownsberger told 22News people are already taking the risk without the facilities.

“If people on fentanyl might be shooting up 6, 8 times a day, every time they do that they’re taking the risk of death and so I don’t think we’re talking about people who are thinking too straight and I think we need to find ways to save their lives,” Brownsberger said.

The bill is currently under review by the state’s committee on mental health, substance use and recovery.

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