Gov. Baker Says He'd Like More Information On Safe Injection Vote

Gov. Charlie Baker and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, in a 2014 file photo (Elise Amendola/AP)
Gov. Charlie Baker and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, in a 2014 file photo (Elise Amendola/AP)

Key state elected officials say they want more study on a proposal to set up clinics where drug users could inject themselves under medical supervision.

That's after the Massachusetts Medical Society on Saturday voted overwhelmingly to approve a pilot project of supervised injection facilities (SIFs).

Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday that he appreciates the medical community stepping up to become part of the discussion. He lays part of the blame for the national opioid crisis on over-prescriptions from doctors, and he said the idea of SIFs is "pretty unorthodox."

"I'd like to see why they came to this conclusion and read about it and what they think the benefit of it might be," Baker told reporters. "My goal is to try to keep people from becoming addicted in the first place, which the medical community has an enormous role to play in."

In response to the medical society vote, Baker's office of Health and Human Services released a statement Saturday that added that "[S]afe injection sites are not legal in the United States."

House Speaker Robert DeLeo said the plan is "counter-intuitive" to what is thought should be done, but is willing to hear the medical society's thinking on the plan.

"I think I'd really have to hear a very convincing argument to convince me, but if they have that convincing argument then I'm open to it," DeLeo said.

State Sen. Will Brownsberger, a Belmont Democrat, has filed legislation that would let the Department of Public Health license supervised injection rooms. He's said the idea won't go far until a city or town that is willing to host a SIF steps forward.

Nearly 2,000 people died as a result of opioid-related overdoses in 2016, according to state projections.

With reporting by WBUR's Steve Brown



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