By Natasha Feuerstein
LOS ANGELES, CA – A leading grassroots organization, Dignity and Power NOW (DPN), is urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign the recently passed Senate Bill that establishes a pilot program for monitored injections and provides mental health services and drug treatment options into law.
The bill was introduced in the California State Legislature in December of 2020 by Senator Scott Wiener, a democrat from San Francisco. Senate Bill 57 seeks to legalize overdose prevention sites in San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles Counties.
The bill was passed in the CA Senate last week, but whether or not the bill becomes law is up to Gov. Newsom.
If Gov. Newsom signs the bill, California will join many other states and countries that have already taken initiative to combat the opioid crisis with real health solutions.
The DPN organization is based in Los Angeles and fights for the “dignity and power of all incarcerated people, their families, and communities.”
DPN has joined the voices of Los Angeles County Supervisors, Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Soils, to call upon Gov. Newsom to sign this bill into law.
Lex Steppling, the Director of Campaigns and Policy explained that the signing of this bill is a necessary step forward for providing community-based service to California.
“Supervised injection sites, or safe consumption sites, while facilitating the safe administering of drugs, also provide comprehensive treatment and support options, and reduce the rate of disease transmission, and other forms of harm related to criminalization.
”If you look at how successful these programs have been whenever and wherever practiced, then there is no logical reason not to support. At this point the only barrier is the discomfort of those on the outside of the problem,” stated Steppling.
Founder of Frontline Wellness Network and DPN board member, Mark-Anthony Clayton-Johnson, also expressed his support for the bill.
He explained, “Instead of incarcerating substance users, instead of state violence or state negligence, the State of California has a responsibility to find ways to reduce these risks. It starts with not blocking good legislation like this. We saw it happen in 2018, we’ve seen it happen across the country and it hasn’t done anything but hurt our community.”
Natasha Feuerstein is a senior at UC Davis majoring in Political Science and minoring in Global Disease Biology. She is originally from Camden, Delaware.
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