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  • Writer's pictureNichole Loati

"Safe" Injection Sites

The Vermont House recently passed bill H.72, lovingly referred to as the “Harm Reduction” bill and the “Overdose Prevention Center” bill.  In fact, what this bill allows for is what are widely known as safe injection sites.  Two of them, in fact, right here in Vermont.  As outlined in the bill, these locations:

  • Provide a space supervised by health care professionals where illegal drugs can be consumed;

  • Provide users with such necessary drug use paraphernalia as clean hypodermic needles and syringes;

  • Provide for the administration of first aid and monitoring for overdoses of said users.

Many who are opposed to the very idea of this step will argue that the bill violates federal laws that ban the possession and use of controlled substances.  In fact, it does, but given that Vermont has already popped that cherry by legalizing cannabis, I’m not going to get hung up on that fact.

Instead, my question is this: By taking the stigma out of injecting deadly illegal drugs, do we honestly think fewer people are going to begin using deadly illegal drugs?  A study out of Colorado found that 10 years of legalization of Cannabis has led to a roughly 24% increase in cannabis usage among Colorado’s citizens.  Why do we expect things to go differently with heroin or meth?

We as a society need to take a hard look at the cause and effect of these decisions we make and ask, does this actually help more people than it hurts?

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