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Mass. Lawmakers Weigh Bill To Allow Supervised Drug Consumption Sites

Massachusetts lawmakers are weighing legislation that would legalize supervised drug consumption sites for users.

The Committee on Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Recovery on Friday favorably reported out a re-drafted version of legislation that would legalize the sites.

The legislation would authorize the Department of Public Health to establish at least two sites as part of a 10-year pilot program. The bill requires DPH to create a licensing process for specific sites. Local boards of health would have to agree to participate in the pilot program before a site could be considered in their communities.

DPH-licensed sites would be required to provide a hygienic space, clinical monitoring of participants by health care professionals or trained individuals, confidentiality for participants, harm reduction consultation, sterile injection supplies, and access to referrals to additional treatment and recovery services.

Sites would also be required to establish security protocols and communicate with neighboring businesses, community members, law enforcement, and first responders.

"The message we send to those who are faced with the disease of addiction is that we see you, we value you, and we want you to live," Rep. Marjorie Decker, a Cambridge Democrat and House chair of the committee, said in a press release.

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