California lawmaker calls for supervised heroin use
April 6, 2016
A California assemblywoman has introduced a bill that would allow drug addicts to legally use heroin, crack and other illegal substances. The bill calls for the creation of treatment facilities where patients would receive drug injections to treat their addictions. [CBS News]
Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) is the author of the bill. Eggman’s proposal would allow local and state health departments to permit the use of controlled substances in clinics that offer medical intervention.
“Addiction is a health care issue, and I think it’s high time we started treating it as a public health issue, versus a criminal issue,” Eggman said. “This bill is one step to be able to address the heroin addiction and epidemic of overdoses that we’re having in our country.”
Eggman cites a Canadian facility in Vancouver as a successful example of a facility where controlled substances are injected in patients. Backers of the facility say it has reduced the number of overdoses in Vancouver and has moved drug use out of the public eye.
San Francisco, Seattle, New York City and Ithaca, New York are currently considering ordinances that would set up similar facilities.
California lawmakers, however, seem reluctant to support the idea. They postponed a committee vote on the bill.
The bill faces opposition from law enforcement, including California sheriffs and police chiefs.
“This send the entirely wrong message regarding drug use and likely creates civil liability issues for participating governments and officials,” said Asha Harris, the spokeswoman for the California State Sheriff’s Association.
Federal authorities have taken a hands-off approach to states legalizing marijuana. But, it is not clear how they would respond to the creation of facilities where users shoot up hard drugs.