Could ‘safe injection sites’ help combat the opioid crisis?

Such sites would also provide resources for addicts looking to kick the habit

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – There’s growing debate over sanctioned sites for drug addicts to inject illegal drugs. Supporters feel these places could save lives; opponents say they would only encourage drug use.

Lawmakers, healh care groups, and activists support a bill for safe injection sites for drug addicts, believing they might prevent accidental overdoses.

Massachusetts, California, New York, and Vermont want to create legal “safe injection sites,” where drug addicts could inject drugs, under the supervision of trained healthcare professionals.

Supporters feel it would reduce overdoses and the spread of HIV, hepatitis C, and other diseases, by providing clean needles and supervision.

Supporters want to take users out of shooting dens and other environments, and into a health care facility where they create a dialogue with health care officials.

Addiction specialist Peter Kassis told 22News whast benefits might come from having a safe injection location. “Increase the chance that people will use clean needles, reduce the risk of accidental overdoses, an opportunity to provide how to inject safely, how to be more congnizent of more potent forms of opioids like fentanyl.”

Injection sites are already legal in a number of countries including Australia, Canada, France and Spain.

Governor Charlie Baker and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno both oppose the idea. Some parents are skeptical.

Meg Cronin from Goffstown, NH said, “It’s kinda counter-intuitive. I mean, one would resist saying that more easier injection areas would lead to more people getting into rehab.”

Such sites would also provide resources for addicts looking to kick the habit.

A bill has been filed that would authorize a pilot program.