Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom of California vetoed a bill Monday that would have set up “safe injection” sites for drug users in major cities.
The legislation, SB57, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener, would have authorized centers for people to use drugs in supervised conditions, according to the bill’s text. The sites would remain open through 2027 as a pilot program in an attempt to prevent overdoses by providing medical support for drug users.
“The unlimited number of safe injection sites that this bill would authorize – facilities which could exist well into the later part of this decade – could induce a world of unintended consequences,” Newsom wrote in his veto message. “It is possible that these sites would help improve the safety and health of our urban areas, but if done without a strong plan, they could work against this purpose.” (RELATED: Biden Administration Considers Allowing ‘Safe Injection’ Sites)
BREAKING: @GavinNewsom has vetoed SB 57 — which would have allowed safe injection sites to open in San Francisco, Oakland and LA. The bill was sponsored by San Francisco’s @Scott_Wiener. pic.twitter.com/v9kqNg38Nc
— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) August 22, 2022
“These unintended consequences in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland cannot be taken lightly,” Newsom continued. “Worsening drug consumption challenges in these areas is not a risk we can take.”
New York City opened the first such center in the country in November 2021 and two overdoses were treated on the first day the centers were in operation, The New York Times reported. Drug overdoses killed twice as many people as COVID-19 in San Francisco, the NYT reported Friday.
“We don’t need additional studies or working groups to determine whether safe consumption sites are effective,” Wiener told The New York Times in response to Newsom’s veto.
“I am instructing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to convene city and county officials to discuss minimum standards and best practices for safe and sustainable overdose prevention programs,” Newsom wrote in his veto message.
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