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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Colorado weighs proposal to allow safe injection sites

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A proposed bill in Colorado would give local governments the go-ahead to create so-called “safe injection sites” within their jurisdictions, which advocates say the facilities help prevent overdoses and save lives.

The sites, also known as “overdose prevention centers,” have been licensed in other states and cities in the United States—but rarely without controversy.

Legislation introduced in the Colorado House of Representatives would “allow localities to create a site where people can use previously obtained controlled substances.”[s] in a controlled situation.” According to local news station Denver 7.

the News agency mentioned that Democratic lawmakers there “pushed the controversial bill forward in committee Wednesday,” but while the party controls the state general assembly, “the measure faces intense controversies amid a broad backlash from police and Republicans, and lingering questions about whether the sites are even legal in the states.” United”.

A year ago, the US Department of Justice said the News agency They were “evaluating” the sites and discussing with the regulators about the implementation of “appropriate guardrails”.

“It does not provide medication by any means. Nor does it compel any local government in a city to set up one of these sites in their communities,” said Colorado State Assembly Representative Jenny Welford, a Democrat, As quoted by Denver 7.

In late 2021, New York City opened The nation’s first overdose prevention center, which came a year after the city suffered more than 2,000 drug overdose deaths, the highest number in two decades.

The city estimated, citing a report from the health department, that overdose prevention centers could prevent up to 130 deaths annually.

“New York City has led the nation’s fight against COVID-19, and the fight to keep our community safe doesn’t stop there. After extensive study, we know the right path forward to protect our city’s most vulnerable people. And we won’t hesitate to take it.” said Bill de Blasio, then-mayor of New York City. “Overdose prevention centers are a safe and effective way to address the opioid crisis. I am proud to show cities in this country that after decades of failure, a smarter approach is possible.”

A study released last year I found that the Overdose Prevention Centers in New York City did their job.

“Between November 30, 2021, and January 31, 2022, 613 individuals used OPC services 5,975 times across two locations,” read the study, which was conducted by the New York City Department of Health.

“During the first two months of OPC operation, trained personnel responded 125 times to mitigate the risk of overdose. In response to opioid-related symptoms of overdose, naloxone was administered 19 times and oxygen 35 times, while breathing or blood oxygen levels were monitored 26 times. In response to symptoms associated with stimulant overdose (also known as overdose), staff intervened 45 times to provide hydration, cooling, and de-escalation as needed.Emergency medical services responded 5 times, and participants were taken to emergency departments 3 times.No fatal overdoses occurred in OPCs or among hospitalized individuals,” the study continued. More than half of the individuals using OPC services (52.5%) received additional support during their visit. This included, but was not limited to, naloxone distribution, counseling, hepatitis C testing, Medicare, and comprehensive services (such as auricular acupuncture). ”

It remains to be seen if the facilities will be approved Coloradoas some Republicans have already expressed caution.

GOP House Representative Gabe Evans said, As quoted from News agency.

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