Fast-Tracking Safe Injection Sites [OPINION]
Here is a bit of political logic from State Rep. Jeff Roy (D-Franklin): failing to pilot a supervised injection site in Massachusetts would be "essentially sentencing people to death."
Roy and others are attempting to fast-track legislation that would establish at least one pilot supervised injection site in Massachusetts as a way of combating the opioid crisis. How'd you like that in your neighborhood or near your business?
Members of the special Harm Reduction Commission issued an urgent appeal for the pilot program during a legislative hearing on Beacon Hill on Wednesday. The State House News Service says, "the program would allow drug users to receive medical supervision without fear of arrest, regardless of prosecution threats from federal authorities."
SHNS cites state figures suggesting a slight reduction in opioid-related deaths; however, "2,033 people died from opioid overdoses, according to state figures." SHNS says "a key factor in recent years has been the increasing presence of the synthetic substance fentanyl, which was detected in 89 percent of 2018 deaths where a toxicology screen occurred."
Safe injection sites encourage drug use and discourage treatment. The decision to use these drugs or to seek treatment is at the sole discretion of the user. To simply facilitate their use is wrong and misguided.
For Rep. Roy to suggest that without safe injection sites we are "sentencing people to death" is moronic, and excuses the user of any responsibility for his or her own actions while blaming society for the user's addiction. It also establishes another permanent underclass that becomes dependant upon the government for survival.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.