By Bronte Price, PoliticKING
A California lawmaker introduced a controversial bill on Tuesday in an effort to reduce the ongoing opioid and heroin epidemic plaguing America. The bill would allow people to use heroin, crack and other drugs at supervised clinics across the state,
According to the Associated Press, California would be the first state in the country to legalize drug-injection sites. Democratic Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, who is the author of the bill, said the that the bill is part of an effort to treat the heroin epidemic as a public health crisis rather than a criminal one.
California lawmaker wants to allow supervised heroin use; would it help addicts or make problem worse? https://t.co/GCWYrkaqPY
— CBS News Health (@CBSHealth) April 6, 2016
"I know when you first hear about it, it's like, 'What? You're condoning drug use.' No, we're acknowledging people are dying on the streets," Eggman said on Tuesday at the Assembly's public safety committee hearing in Sacramento. "In the U.S., we have chosen to treat addiction from a criminal perspective. It's high time we start treating it like a public health issue."
According to the bill, the facilities that would offer addicts the ability to shoot up legally would be supervised by medical professionals. These professionals would be able to use the facility to minimize the risk of use and offer drug treatment services.
— Asm. Susan Eggman (@AsmSusanEggman) April 5, 2016
Larry Campbell, a senator from Canada who helped establish North America's only legal drug-injection sites in Vancouver, was also at the Assembly.
"The drug is illegal, but the person who's using that drug is suffering from a recognized medical disease," Campbell said. "What this does is simply treat the addiction, keep somebody alive and keep them off the streets." He also said that the facility has overseen millions of injections with no reported deaths among users at the facility. He added that it has saved the state millions in health care costs.
Eggman's proposal, however, has received criticism from the law enforcement community in California. Some officials claim that the legal injection sites will only encourage more drug use.
Here’s what a panel of experts has to say about the heroin epidemic:
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