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Supervised injection sites are not the answer


CONTACT: Evan Lips, communications director
617-523-5005 ext. 245

Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Jim Lyons has issued the following statement ahead of tomorrow’s hearing at the State House regarding supervised drug injection sites:

This proposed solution to heroin addiction sends the absolute wrong message to everyone that has been fighting this epidemic. 

Instead of waving the white flag we should increase penalties to the heartless criminals who are killing our kids, we should provide more funding for our police and law enforcement to attack the drug traffickers, we should fund more treatment beds. 

We should change the Section 35 involuntary commitment statute to make sure that when this law is used, our family members and loved ones are given treatment rather than locked away inside jail cells. 
It’s a Band-Aid for a bullet wound. This must be changed. 

Studies show that it takes about 14 months for the human brain to heal from the abuse caused by drugs like heroin. With that science in mind, it should be obvious that supervised drug injection sites aren’t going to help individuals commit to the healing process. 

Most believe that addiction is a disease. If that’s the case, we should update the law to require insurance companies to fund treatment in full. 

This is a war. It’s time we fought it that way. 

This proposal is ill-advised and must be rejected by the Legislature. 

Supervised Injection Sites: Just the Facts

  • Overdose deaths rose steadily in Vancouver following the city’s opening of the North America’s first supervised drug injection site in 2003. A review of that facility found that the overdose death rate in the immediate vicinity of the facility is actually the highest in the city.
  • Only 29 percent of Americans want a supervised injection site in their neighborhood.
  • Supervised injection sites sustain addiction. This is indisputable. 
  • Supervised injection sites are illegal and do not report heroin use to law enforcement. 
  • Studies on supervised injection sites are unreliable. None of the studies conducted have shown a decrease in drug use, which should be the end goal. 
  • Supervised injection sites would only increase illegal drug activity and transactions.
  • There is no evidence that supervised injection sites lead people to seek treatment. 
  • It is a crime to manage and maintain a site where illegal narcotics are used. 21 U.S.C. Sec. 856 prohibits the maintaining of any premises for the purpose of using any controlled substance.  Potential penalties include forfeiture of the property, criminal fines, civil monetary penalties up to $250,000, and imprisonment up to 20 years in jail for anyone that knowingly opens, leases, rents, maintains, or anyone that manages or controls and knowingly and intentionally makes available such premises for use (whether compensated or otherwise).
  • Supervised injection sites normalize illegal drug use. Encouraging the use of opioids does nothing to stop continued abuse. The sites teach adults and children alike that so-called “safe” drug usage is somehow appropriate or can be actually done “safely.”
  • There is no evidence showing that addicts who shoot up at a supervised injection site won’t then overdose at home during another episode.
  • An addict who has access to a supervised injection site may never reach the realization that they must change their lifestyle or risk death.
  • Supervised injection sites will not create less addicts and instead threaten to create more. 
  • Creating more addicts will create more drug dealers.
  • Supervised injection sites do not help addicts recover. 
  • Supervised injection sites welcome the use of any drug, not just opioids, such as cocaine and meth, for which there are no available counteragents.
  • Just as drug dens attract drug dealers, sexual predators, and other criminals, so will supervised injection sites.