Supervised Drug Consumption Moves Ahead in Legislature

Legislation that would allow Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland to operate sites for supervised drug consumption passed its second committee last week. On April 6, SB 57 (Wiener) was approved by the Senate Public Safety Committee.

The bill would greenlight the pilot sites through Jan. 1, 2027. Controlled substances used at the sites must be pre-obtained. On-site staff would be trained in the use of opioid antagonists and would provide sterile spaces and supplies for consumption. The purpose of the bill is to reduce overdoses and the spread of disease.

There are more than 120 supervised consumption programs across ten countries, according to Cathren Cohen, a staff attorney at the National Health Law Program. She says the statistics vouch for their effectiveness. Critics say these programs only enable drug addiction.

Cities and counties have seen a surge in fatal overdoses during the pandemic. 2020 was San Francisco’s deadliest year for users, with a record 699 overdose deaths.


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