Lawmakers discuss controversial safe injection sites

Lawmakers discuss controversial safe injection sites

BOSTON — Safe injection sites. Some say this controversial idea is one solution to the opioid epidemic.

On Tuesday, lawmakers on Beacon Hill discussed bringing the sites to Massachusetts.

Safe injection sites allow a safe place for addicts to use opioids under medical supervision to prevent overdoses, but under Massachusetts state law, doctors and nurses can lose their licenses for encouraging drug possession.

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Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone has been pushing to open a safe injection site in his city. It would be the first in the nation. Tuesday, he testified on Beacon Hill on a proposal to implement safe injections sites in Mass.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling has pushed back, threatening to prosecute against any effort for a pilot program in Massachusetts:

"Opening a facility for people to inject themselves with heroin and fentanyl is illegal under federal and state law.  Barring a change in the Justice Department’s position, if Somerville opens one, federal enforcement will follow."

Safe injection sites are illegal in the United States, but not in Canada. Boston 25 News traveled to Montreal to visit their three safe injection sites. Inside 10 cubicles, people sit down and shoot drugs like heroin and cocaine legally.

Governor Charlie Baker has said he is against safe injection sites, saying they are not the answer.