BOSTON — At the Statehouse on Wednesday, Governor Charlie Baker said supervised injection sites are not the answer for Massachusetts.
Further north in Montreal, supervised injection sites are legal and Boston 25 News was the first TV crew ever allowed to film inside of one of their facilities.
Carole Morissette is the director for the Public Health Department in Montreal. For them, the program protects the public and the people from using the drugs.
"We have overdoses related to fentanyl and we have deaths related to fentanyl. This is the first year we documented that," said Morissette.
Back in Massachusetts, lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow communities to open their own supervised injection sites.
On Melnea Cass Boulevard near Mass. Ave., we found people shooting up and used syringes on the ground.
Aubri Esters, an advocate for safe injection sites, says she's also a drug user. She tells Boston 25 News while she isn't going to stop using, she has lost friends to overdoses - which is why she'd go to a supervised injection site.
"If I'm mixing drugs or if I'm using drugs on top of each other, I'd want to be in a safe place in case something happened," said Esters.
It's a philosophy called "harm reduction" and is part of Bill 1081 state lawmakers are currently considering:
"A 'safer drug consumption program' provides a space for people who use drugs to consume pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of healthcare professionals or other trained staff."
Boston 25 News asked Sen. William Brownsberger - who sponsored the bill - whether these sites would enable drug addicts to keep using.
"These people are already way over the edge. What we're trying to do is just save their lives. Enabling them - they're already able and they're already doing it an enormous risk of harm so why wouldn't we try to reduce their risk of harm a little bit," said Brownsberger.
Gov. Baker says his focus continues to be treatment.
"There is virtually no evidence that they lead people into treatment and I think one of the things is, the goal here is to provide opportunities and pathways to treatment for people," said Baker. "This is a disease and the way you treat a disease is with treatment."
Baker plans on adding 500 new treatment beds and expanding access to medication and outreach programs.
Cox Media Group