Debate On in Massachusetts Over Safe Sites for Drug Users

BOSTON (AP) — Some lawmakers, activists and medical groups in Massachusetts are pushing for the creation of “supervised injection sites” where drug users can shoot up illegal substances under the watchful eye of staff trained in countering the effect of potentially fatal overdoses.

Supporters said the sites could reduce the staggering toll of opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts in recent years.

Among those skeptical is Republican Gov. Charlie Baker. Baker said he doesn’t see the sites as gateways to treatment.

But supporters include not only activists, but such established groups as the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Massachusetts Hospital Association and the American Medical Association.

A bill has been filed that would authorize a pilot program.

Nationally, several cities and states are considering similar proposals. A number of countries already have such supervised sites.

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