CA Measure Calling for Funding for Safe Consumption Drug Site Postponed until January

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By Anika Khubchandani and Alex Klimenko

SACRAMENTO, CA – A State Senate measure here to provide a “safe place” for controlled substance use – designed to save lives and public monies – was put on hold here this week, postponed until the January session of the CA Legislature.

Senate Bill 57 involved the creation of “hygienic space to consume controlled substances” in the presence of staff qualified to “prevent and treat drug overdoses.”

Overdose deaths have recently increased “in May 2020, the increase was 42 percent compared to the prior year,” said bill proponents.

The intent of SB 57 is to “to prevent fatal and nonfatal drug overdoses, reduce drug use by providing a pathway to drug treatment, as well as medical and social services for high-risk drug users, many of whom are homeless, uninsured, or very low income, prevent the transmission of HIV and hepatitis C, reduce nuisance and public safety problems related to public use of controlled substances, and reduce emergency room use and hospital utilization related to drug use, reserving precious space, including intensive care beds for treatment of COVID-19 and other life-threatening conditions.”

Though SB 57 will not be considered until later in the legislative session, Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who introduced the bill, is still advocating to help those addicted to drugs.

He “recently obtained $4.2 million in the state budget to fund a meth sobering center in San Francisco.” Wiener is also currently “authoring Senate Bill 110, which legalizes contingency management financial incentives for people to stop using meth and stay sober” and “Senate Bill 221 to ensure that people with mental health and substance use disorder needs receive timely access to care.”

The use of these spaces has been endorsed by the American Medical Association (AMA) “in an amicus brief supporting overdose prevention programs (OPPs) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.” The AMA and others wrote that, “supervised consumption sites are an evidence-based medical and public health intervention with the potential to improve individual and community health.”

If passed, SB 57 may have important fiscal implications. “A proposed program in San Francisco would reduce government expenses associated with health care, emergency services, and crime, saving $2.33 for every dollar spent. It is estimated that one OPP would save the City and County of San Francisco $3,500,000 in other costs,” according to bill supporters.

Recently, SB 57 has been amended to include Los Angeles as pilot city in addition to the cities of Oakland and San Francisco. Considering “overdose deaths are an urgent public health crisis” that has only been exacerbated by the pandemic in major California cities, Wiener stresses how “safe consumption sites are a proven strategy to save lives and help people in recovery.

Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-2), the Chairman of the Assembly Health Committee, has assured Senator Wiener that SB 57 will be heard in January. Despite being disheartened by the delay, Wiener is “deeply committed to this life-saving legislation.”

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About The Author

Anika Khubchandani is a 4th year student at UC Davis majoring in both political science and economics. She is from San Jose, CA.

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27 thoughts on “CA Measure Calling for Funding for Safe Consumption Drug Site Postponed until January”

  1. Keith Olsen

    A State Senate measure here to provide a “safe place” for controlled substance use 

    So who’s first to volunteer to have one of these “safe places” in their neighborhood?

    1. David Greenwald

      Have you ever been to the park across from the Courthouse in Woodland? Needles everywhere. Don’t you think having a safe place would be better than having it be in the local park?

      1. Keith Olsen

        Don’t you think wherever controlled consumption use safe places are located will become a magnet for even more users to congregate at?  Would you want one in your neighborhood?  An honest question.

         

        1. David Greenwald

          From Don’s post: “The law (2021-H 5245A2021-S 0016B) authorizes facilities where people may safely consume those substances under the supervision of health care professionals. It requires the approval of the city or town council of any municipality where the center would operate.”

          I think the people willing to be supervised by a health care professional are not the people you need to be worrying about.  Also note, local land use control.  But no, I would not mind one in my neighborhood if it’s an appropriate location.  There is a demonization of people who use drugs that is unwarranted.

          1. David Greenwald

            Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law: “The abstinence-only approach, under which mandated treatment and other confinement-based addiction ‘alternatives’ tend to operate, ignores the realities of substance use in society: most people are not debilitated by physical dependence on the substances they use, whether they be alcohol, caffeine, or heroin.”

            That’s not to say that “life-endangering substance dependency” is not a reality, but this fact should help to put our approach to it in context.

        2. Alan Miller

          You consider someone living in a tent with all their wordly possessions in a shopping car ‘not debilitated’ ?

          What does this quote even mean?  Addiction progresses.  And lumping those listed substances together does a disservice to reality.  As addiction progresses, a formerly functional person is likely to become more and more debilitated, or die, as two friends of mine recently have.

          So what’s your POINT ?  (to use the TK yell-a-word style)

      2. Bill Marshall

        Have you ever been to the park across from the Courthouse in Woodland?

        Which one?  Current Courthouse, or historical one?  Just looking for clarity, and knowing where to look to verify your observation(s)… a fundamental of “reporting”… verifying source info…

  2. Alan Miller

    Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who introduced the bill . . .

    Isn’t that a picture of Scott Wiener’s face on one of those pills in the article thumbnail?  It is!

    is still advocating to help those addicted to drugs.

    Help them . . . . . what?     😐

    Wiener stresses how “safe consumption sites are a proven strategy to save lives and help people in recovery.

    People in recovery don’t need a place to shoot up, because they aren’t using.

    saving $2.33 for every dollar spent.

    We need to spend more money to save money!

    1. Bill Marshall

      People in recovery don’t need a place to shoot up, because they aren’t using.

      True for the most part… in some cases, addicts need to ‘titrate’… usually takes one-two weeks, sometimes a tad longer, but certainly not indefinitely… as I understand it it can be more effective, with less horrible withdrawal/health issues, than “cold turkey”…

      But the bill does not apparently focus on that… sounds more like ‘medically supervised enabling’, a goal I would not support… a limited, medically supervised, transitional use, as part of a withdrawal and recovery program… that, I’d be inclined to support…

    2. Don Shor

      Help them . . . . . what? 😐

      Help them find the resources to start the process of recovery, as well as the other social services that may be available to help support that decision.

      People in recovery don’t need a place to shoot up, because they aren’t using.

      This is not the generally accepted definition of ‘recovery’. It is described as a process*. The goal is abstinence (or harm reduction) and it is more common than not for a person to relapse in the process of recovery. Some describe the outcome of a successful recovery process as remission.

      * example: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/recovery

  3. Chris Griffith

    Consider this – most addicts only seek treatment after hitting “rock bottom”. Waking up in a gutter with a dirty needle in your arm, a case of hepatitis, and the ejaculate of strangers drying on your face as the cops haul you off to jail is an example of the sort of thing that forces people to rethink their lives. The long and painful road to recovery is clearly preferable to remaining in the gutter. If you metaphorically (or literally with “safe injection sites”) stack a pile of clean mattresses on “rock bottom”, you make it pleasant and comfortable. So why get clean? You don’t! Getting clean is now a worse experience than staying addicted.

     

    The simple rule is this: If you want more of something, make it safer and easier. If you want less of something, make it horrible.

      1. Alan Miller

        Yeah, truer words WERE never spoken (to use the one-word yell style of TK)

        This seems to be something so many people just IGNORE or CAN’T GRASP.

        Generally, ‘saving’ an addict is to kill an addict.  Actually, they are already killing themselves, y’all just have more of a chance of speeding up the process.

        David Crosby credits an 11-month sentence on drugs & weapons charges to be what turned him around.  I’ll bet if someone had built ol’ Croz a Paul’s Place to live in without sobriety requirements, he’d be dead long, long ago.

        If you want more of something, make it safer and easier.

    1. Alan Miller

      the ejaculate of strangers drying on your face

      Wow.  I just admire your writing that and getting it past the censors.  You deserve some sort of reward  😐     A Vanny perhaps?

      Thankfully, hitting bottom doesn’t need to be that graphically literal.   Unfortunately, most don’t have a path to rock bottom until after they die, or they realize how far gone they are within days of their death.  This has happened to two people I know at least, and is very sad.

  4. Chris Griffith

    Thankfully, hitting bottom doesn’t need to be that graphically literal.   Unfortunately, most don’t have a path to rock bottom until after they die, or they realize how far gone they are within days of their death.  This has happened to two people I know at least, and is very sad.
     
    Personally I think the citizens of California are going to have to get really draconian in solving this problem or it’s not going to be solved at all it’s only going to get worse politicians are screwing this  up and we the general public are going to pay for it.
    Just one person’s humble opinion 🙂
     

  5. Chris Griffith

    So our state legislator wants to have safe places so these drug addicts can do drugs and our state legislature also wants to decriminalize hallucinogenic drugs what’s the next step??

    Is the state of California going to install vending machines at the safe spaces and maybe sell drugs to the drug addicts? It seems that the state legislature wants to be the drug dealers😁

     

    Just one person’s humble opinion.

     

  6. Bill Marshall

    So… the $64,000 question…

    How many of those weighing in, one way or the other, here, are weighing in with the local State legislature member, legislature as a whole, or the current governor?

    Fine to weigh in here, but this isn’t a local measure… this discussion is positing, venting, opining…

    I recommend that those who have strong opinions to weigh in with those who actually have the power to pass the legislation, defeat the legislation, or modify the legislation… that’s where the needle will hit the arm (or the pill will hit the tummy, smoke hits the lungs, pick your metaphor for ‘rubber hits the road’… the rest is “talk-talk”…

    I strongly recommend those who have strong opinions notify those who actually will ACT…

    Just saying…

  7. Chris Griffith

    I strongly recommend those who have strong opinions notify those who actually will ACT…

    There was the failing in California state government none of them have the cojones to do anything about the problem.

    An example I travel up and down Sacramento River quite often sometimes three and four maybe even five times a day and as I go up and down that River I see one thing water levels are very high and why are they very high who knows maybe to save some snail or some fish down in the Delta somewhere but there sure as hell not saving that water for us why not is because they don’t give a damn about you or me or anyone else the only thing they care about is themselves and their little agenda.

    Just one person’s humble opinion

    1. Bill Marshall

      There was the failing in California state government none of them have the cojones to do anything about the problem.

      Just one person’s humble opinion

      So, I take it, you don’t even try… seems you are exactly like you perceive them to be… you are like them, given the text I bolded…

      Remember the “black power” salute?  Clenched fist.

      Try the same, with the index finger up, but bent… you exemplify “impotent power”…

      Your right… your choice… if you don’t try, don’t whine… not listening…

      Will keep your post in mind when evaluating your past and future posts… very illuminating…

       

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