California Senate OKs safe injection sites

Scott Wiener

FILE – In this Jan. 21, 2020, file photo, state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, speaks at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. Sen. Wiener has introduced legislation that would ban certain medically unnecessary surgeries on children born with ambiguous or conflicting genitalia. The first-of-its-kind legislation would not allow these types of surgeries until the child is at least 6-years-old. A similar bill failed to pass last year after facing opposition from the California Medical Association. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Senate has approved a bill that would give opioid users a place to inject drugs in supervised settings.

The goal of the bill is to prevent accidental overdose deaths from opioid use.

The so-called safe injection sites have emerged around the world in recent years. It’s part of a movement to rethink treatment for people addicted to powerful opioids.

The federal government has sued to block the sites in the United States. But state Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco, who authored the bill, said he hopes President Joe Biden’s administration will allow states to launch their own pilot programs.

“Overdoses are a national health crisis, and we’re seeing the impacts of this crisis all across California,” Wiener said. “We need a new approach to mental health and substance use – one that helps prevent overdoses, addresses the root causes of substance use, and facilitates treatment and support. Forcing people to use drugs on our streets doesn’t make anyone safer and only causes problems for people who are using drugs and for surrounding neighborhoods.”

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 21-11 and now heads to the assembly.

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