Legislative Committee Approves Drug Consumption Site Measure

Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr.

HYANNIS – The Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery, chaired by Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr, has express support for legislation that would establish supervised drug consumption sites in Massachusetts.

The original Massachusetts House bill known as, “An Act relative to preventing overdose deaths and increasing access to treatment,” was filed by state Rep. Dylan Fernandes.

The legislation authorizes the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to establish at least two supervised consumption sites as part of a ten year pilot program.

“This legislation addresses the public health issue of substance use disorder,” said Representative Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery.

“The message we send to those who are faced with the disease of addiction is that we see you, we value you, and we want you to live. Supervised consumption sites offer one more intervention to save lives, I am grateful for the many families, health and legal professionals and community members who contributed to the work of this final bill.”

The bill requires the DPH to establish a licensure process for specific sites.

Local boards of health would have to agree to participate in the pilot program before a site could be considered in their communities.

Licensed sites would be required to provide a hygienic space, clinical monitoring of participants by healthcare professionals or trained individuals, confidentiality for participants, harm reduction consultation, sterile injection supplies, and access to referrals to additional treatment and recovery services.

Sites would also be required to establish security protocols and to communicate effectively with neighboring businesses, community members, law enforcement, and first responders.

“I don’t believe we can rest on our laurels or count out any option that has the potential to save lives from opioid use disorder,” said Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr.

“The legislation released would pilot supervised consumption sites in the Commonwealth; this gives us another tool to save lives as the opioid epidemic continues to ravage communities across our Commonwealth.”

The legislation reflects the input of multiple public hearings, public testimony, and collaboration with local government partners, advocates, clinicians, researchers, law enforcement, legal scholars and individuals with experience in facing substance use disorder.

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