State to study drug injection facilities

State to study drug injection facilities

Should the state allow drug addicts a place to get high under medical supervision? Thursday, the state moved a step further in allowing it.

With nearly 2,100 opiate-related deaths in Massachusetts last year, state lawmakers are looking at a number of different proposals.

"Happy to report we just adopted an amendment in the senate to study the feasibility of supervised injection rooms,” said Senator Joe Boncore (D) Winthrop.

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The amendment was introduced by Sen. Boncor and it has the blessing of the Massachusetts Medical Society. The MMS represents 25,000 doctors and medical students state-wide.

“When one looks at the data coming from Vancouver in British Columbia, it's rather compelling. They have had a 25 to 30 percent decline in deaths since instituting this type of facility,” said President of MMS Dr. Hank Dorkin.

Supervised injection facilities provide users with clean needles and a safe place to use drugs like heroin in the presence of medical professionals trained in treating overdoses. The facilities also offer treatment options and referrals.

"We hope that it will end up as a pilot project in one or two facilities in the commonwealth," said Dorkin. 
The facilities are no doubt controversial.

Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael spoke with Boston 25.

“I think what we really need to be doing is using all of our efforts and our resources focusing on prevention and intervention treatment and recovery and not so much enabling the person who is suffering from this disease,” said Carmichael.

The funding for the study was approved by the State Senate. It will also need approval from the House. Governor Baker has said he will need to study the issue further before he weighs in.