Berkshire DA to testify on supervised drug consumption sites

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BOSTON (WWLP) – Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington is scheduled to testify before the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery on the topic of supervised drug consumption sites Monday.

The hearing begins at 11 a.m. and can be live streamed on the Legislature’s website. The entire hearing runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and includes two parts relating to first, decriminalization, and then safe consumption sites. Massachusetts Citizens who would like to offer comments on either proposed law are able to do so by submitting the official Google form.

The hearing on decriminalization of controlled substances held by any individual within the Commonwealth began at 9 a.m. As the law is currently, any individual caught with a controlled substance not “obtained directly, or pursuant to a valid prescription or order, from a practitioner while acting in the course of his professional practice,” could face severe criminal charges. If the proposed bills on decriminalization passes through the Legislature, the criminal component of individuals holding controlled substances would instead face a fine of no more than $50.

Safe consumptions sites are places where an individual can use controlled substances in the presence of medical professionals. They are considered by many to be an effective tool in combatting the current opioid overdose crisis. These sites have been installed across Canada and versions have been approved by lawmakers in New York and Rhode Island.

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