Calif. lawmaker pushes supervised heroin injection centers


Canadian Sen. Larry Campbell, left, joins California state Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton, at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., on Tuesday. Campbell helped establish North America's only supervised drug use facility in Vancouver, British Columbia in 2003. He visited Sacramento in support of Eggman's proposal to allow addicts of heroin, crack, opioids and other controlled substances to use drugs at clinics offering medical intervention.Alison Noon/AP

Canadian Sen. Larry Campbell, left, joins California state Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton, at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., on Tuesday. Campbell helped establish North America’s only supervised drug use facility in Vancouver, British Columbia in 2003. He visited Sacramento in support of Eggman’s proposal to allow addicts of heroin, crack, opioids and other controlled substances to use drugs at clinics offering medical intervention.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A lawmaker wants to allow California addicts to use heroin, crack and other drugs at supervised facilities to cut down on overdoses, joining several U.S. cities considering establishing the nation’s first legal drug-injection sites.

The proposal introduced Tuesday comes as San Francisco, Seattle, New York City and Ithaca, New York, weigh ordinances to set up the facilities, citing the success of a site operating in Canada since 2003.

But law enforcement has opposed the move in California, saying it will worsen addiction. And lawmakers seemed reluctant to support it, postponing a committee vote.

HEROIN USERS IN IRELAND TO BE PROVIDED WITH ‘SAFE ROOMS’

Though federal authorities have taken a hands-off approach to states’ legalization of marijuana, it’s not clear how they would respond to facilities permitting users to shoot up hard drugs.

The bill from Democratic Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman would make it legal for local and state health departments to allow the use of controlled substances in clinics that would offer medical intervention.

Supporters say the facilities would reduce deaths and transmissions of HIV and hepatitis C.

“Addiction is a health care issue, and I think it’s high time we started treating it as a public health issue, versus a criminal issue,” Eggman said. “This bill is one step to be able to address the heroin addiction and epidemic of overdoses that we’re having in our country.”

Advocates of drug policy reform point to the success of North America’s only supervised injection facility, established 13 years ago in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Canadian Sen. Larry Campbell, who helped establish the facility as Vancouver mayor, joined Eggman in Sacramento to support her proposal. He said the Vancouver program has reduced the number of overdoses in the city and moved drug use out of the public eye.

“The drug is illegal, but the person who’s using that drug is suffering from a recognized medical disease,” Campbell said. “What this does is simply treat the addiction, keep somebody alive and keep them off the streets.”

The Canadian facility, which has overseen more than 2 million injections, costs $2 million a year to run, he said. In 2003, it saved the state $1.5 million in health care costs, largely due to decreased emergency room visits.

The California measure faces strong opposition from sheriffs and police chiefs concerned the facilities would encourage drug use.

A LOOK AT DRUG USE AND DRINKNG IN U.S. VS. EUROPE

“This sends entirely the wrong message regarding drug use and likely creates civil liability issues for participating governments and officials,” said Asha Harris, spokeswoman for the California State Sheriffs’ Association.

The supervised consumption sites would violate federal law banning certain controlled substances such as heroin, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Michael Shavers said. There is no official guidance from the agency on the facilities.

The “DEA focuses its resources on criminal distributors and not individual users; our focus is on eliminating the suppliers, the distributors, the larger controlled substance providers,” Shavers said.

Eggman said she has not reached out to the agency about her proposal.

Republican Assemblyman Tom Lackey echoed law enforcement concerns and said California should consider how to control addiction to opioids and other prescription medications before moving toward such facilities.

“We need to discourage people, but we also need to help them,” said Lackey, a 28-year veteran of the California Highway Patrol. “But I just can’t support this because there’s a number of problems at this stage.

“I don’t think we’re quite ready for this step,” he said.

At least 87 drug consumption facilities existed in 58 cities around the world in 2012, according to researchers Eberhard Schatz of the Correlation Network and Marie Nougier of the International Drug Policy Consortium, citing the most recent data available.

Tags:
california ,
heroin ,
seattle ,
washington ,
san francisco ,
upstate new york ,
canada



Source link

Reply

Pin It on Pinterest

Shares
Share This
NBC tries to promote karate for 2020 Olympics, shows taekwondo
Ala. lawyer busted trafficking methamphetamine, 369 grams seized
Former Cuomo aide killed in crash on Long Island Expressway
Critics rip Cuomo plan that combines tax and wage subsidies
Oil prices fall as analysts say August price rally has been overblown
Asian shares slip, dollar stands tall on Fed hike bets
Japan Inc unenthused over Abe's stimulus, BOJ easing: Reuters poll
Facebook can climb more than 20 percent on ad growth: Barron's
Singapore Luxury Real Estate: Back to a Buyer's Market
Sail The Seven Seas With Ease In The Oyster 625 Bandido
The Montblanc Meisterstück Is On Point
The Wining Wines of the 2015 En Primeur Campaign
Can’t believe you ate the whole thing? Blame ‘false hunger’
Lead in NYC tap water is a danger despite quality system
Seattle toddler speaks first words after nearly drowning
Humans first infected Neanderthals with herpes, tuberculosis
Barbra Streisand Tells Apple to Fix Siri's Pronunciation of Last Name
Watch Metallica Debut Punishing 'Hardwired' Live at Minneapolis Concert
Matt Roberts, Original 3 Doors Down Guitarist, Dead at 38
Frank Ocean Reflects on Creating 'Blonde' in Tumblr Posts
Obama wants more choices for consumers using cable boxes
Sanders preaches economic equality at the Vatican
Senator calls out CUNY boss Milliken on campus anti-Semitism
Angry campaign making strange bedfellows out of bedfellows
Basketball Football Other Sports
SEE IT: Softball player pulls off behind-the-back bunt
Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s office raided in Moscow
Isola: Phil Jackson no longer the cool, calm man on bench
Mobile Social
How carbon nanotubes could give us faster processors and longer battery life
Facebook’s new teens-only app Lifestage turns bios into video profiles
Looklive helps men shop by mimicking celebs’ styles