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One of California's largest cities may make history in its fight against the drug overdose epidemic.
Soon, people living with addiction in San Francisco County could go to a facility where they could use drugs under the supervision of staff trained to treat and prevent drug overdoses.
Similar legislation has been introduced in Maryland, Massachusetts and New York.
Assembly Bill 186 would allow San Francisco to permit a safe injection site facility. People would be able to go there to use drugs under supervision. Staff would be on-site and ready to treat anyone who may overdose. They would also be able to prevent overdoses and prevent infectious diseases like HIV.
Staff would also be able to provide people with drug treatment options, housing and other services, according to the bill.
Assemblymember Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) wrote the bill. She said this bill asks one question, "Should we keep trying what has failed for decades or give San Francisco the choice to try something that we know saves lives, reduces disease, and saves money?"
But why San Francisco? Eggman's staff said it has an acute problem and strong support from their board of supervisors, mayor, district attorney, and sheriff for implementing a program. This bill does have an expiration date of 2022, unless legislature wants to keep it a law.
Lawmakers say research has shown people who use safe injection sites are more likely to enter treatment and more likely to stop using drugs.
Now AB186 goes to the governor's desk. Last year, a broader version of this bill did not pass.
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