California wants to take radical approach in preventing overdose deaths by providing safe houses to illegal drug users where they can access sterile supplies under the supervision of a doctor.
Assembly Bill 186 was introduced by Democratic assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman to establish “supervised consumption services” in eight California counties where people could use controlled substances under the supervision of staff trained to prevent overdoses, and refer people to drug treatments and housing. The bill passed in Assembly in June and is now with the Senate Health Committee where it must pass in order to move to the Senate.
The idea is modeled after a site in Canada, where people can use drugs like heroin with sterile supplies and a doctor on standby. The Vancouver facility claims it has prevented 6,400 overdoses in 13 years and placed more than 4,500 people into treatment.
“We are in the midst of an epidemic, and this bill will grant us another tool to fight it – to provide better access to services like treatment and counseling, to better protect public health and safety, and to save lives,” Eggman said in a statement.