Gavin Newsom Vetoes Bill Legalizing ‘Safe Consumption Sites’ in 3 California Cities
On Monday, Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill legalizing “safe consumption sites” in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland. Safe consumption sites, also known as “safe injection sites,” are locations where individuals can use illegal drugs in a sanitary area with access to clean needles and staff who can administer drugs like naloxone, which can quickly treat an overdose. Proponents of the legislation argue that the sites are an important harm reduction tool, helping to prevent overdose deaths or the spread of certain diseases, like HIV, that can be spread through intravenous drug use.
“Safe injection sites aren’t intended to be some sort of magic solution to a chronic drug addiction crisis; they are intended to reduce the likelihood of users dying,” Reason’s Scott Shackford wrote after the bill’s passage in the state Legislature earlier this month.
Where safe consumption sites are legal, they have proved tremendously effective. As of 2019, one safe consumption site in Vancouver, Canada, has overseen more than 3.6 million instances of drug injection since its opening in 2003. At the site, staff responded to 6,440 overdoses with no deaths. A study examining the site’s operations from 2004 to 2008 predicted that, during that period, the site prevented up to 51 deaths. According to NPR, researchers also found no increase in drug usage in the surrounding area.
“Safe consumption sites have been in operation around the world for approximately 30 years, with great success and literally zero overdose deaths,” state Sen. Scott Wiener (D–San Francisco), who originally introduced the bill, told CBS Bay Area. “These sites are a proven strategy to reduce overdose deaths, pressure on emergency rooms, and public drug use, while expanding a
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