Rhode Island may be opening Supervised Drug Injection Sites

Rhode Island may be opening Supervised Drug Injection Sites

Rhode Island is on the verge of becoming the first state to allow so-called harm reduction centers, where addicts can use heroin and other illegal narcotics under the supervision of medical specialists.  

(AP) PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island is on the verge of becoming the first state to allow so-called harm reduction centers, where addicts can use heroin and other illegal narcotics under the supervision of medical specialists. 

The Ohio General Assembly approved legislation Thursday that establishes a two-year pilot program for the clinics, which are also known as safe injection sites or supervised injection sites. 

After the state House of Representatives approved the bill earlier this week, it now goes to Democratic Governor Dan McKee. When the plan hits his desk, the Democrat has stated that he will study it. 

“Having a place where someone can save them from an overdose and where there are people offering them the resources, they need for treatment is a much better alternative to people dying alone in their homes or in their cars,” state Sen. Joshua Miller, the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement. 

The facilities are permitted in at least ten nations, but none are permitted in the United States. Assembly leaders said their plan would make Rhode Island the first state to authorize such a trial program. 

In recent years, American towns such as New York, Philadelphia, and Somerville, a Boston suburb, have attempted to open treatment centers to tackle the opioid crisis. A bill establishing a 10-year pilot program with at least two sites is also being considered by Massachusetts lawmakers. 

Harm reduction sites have been shown to be helpful in averting fatal overdoses, according to James McDonald, the state Department of Health’s medical director. 

According to Miller, they’ve also been successful in linking patients with substance abuse treatment, recovery support, and other health services. 

The Cranston Democrat has expressed concern that if the bill is passed, it will face legal challenges because injection sites are still illegal under federal law. 

Opening a center would also require city and town approval under Miller’s measure. 

 

 

Associated Press, health, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, substance addiction, opioids 

 

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