The California state Senate passed legislation allowing cities to set up “safe injection sites” Tuesday, where drug addicts can bring heroin and other substances to have doctors legally administer them.
This is the second time the California legislature has considered the legislation. The California Assembly passed bill AB-186 in June 2017, only for it to die in the Senate in September, the Sacramento Bee reported. This time, however, the bill originated in the Senate and is now headed to the Assembly, where it will likely pass. The goal of the “safe injection sites” is to reduce deadly overdoses by allowing addicts to bring in drugs they have already obtained. Trained doctors will inject them safely with clean needles.
“It doesn’t work to just say, ‘Don’t do it,’” Democrat Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman told the Bee. “This is not enabling anyone. This is about getting people into treatment.”
One of the major selling points for the injection sites is that doctors will have information about treatment programs on hand to provide addicts with, potentially increasing the number of addicts who choose to attempt quitting. (RELATED: Drug Bust Yields Enough Fentanyl To Kill 26 Million People)
The CDC estimates that roughly 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017, racking up more deaths than the entire Vietnam War. The number represents a 7 percent increase over 2016. The states with the biggest spikes in fatalities were Nebraska, North Carolina, New Jersey and Indiana. Those states experienced drug overdose death rate increases from 15 to 33 percent. The nationwide increase was not seen in all states, however. Wyoming, Utah and Oklahoma saw decreases of up to 33 percent.
Many of the deaths are due to the increasing appearance of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid often mixed with the far less potent heroin. Considering that as little as 2 milligrams of fentanyl is enough to kill an adult male, unwitting addicts who inject the mixture are almost certain to fatally overdose.
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