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Massachusetts Senator impressed after visiting safe injection sites; should save lives, money



Colin A. Young

One of the Senate’s most vocal supporters of authorizing sites where people could use drugs under the watch of medical professionals recently visited facilities in New York City and Canada, and explained during a weekend appearance on “@Issue” on NBC Boston what he saw at the sites and why he wants to bring them to Massachusetts.

“What I found was that if it’s done properly, they fit into the character of a neighborhood,” Sen. John Keenan said of his visits to supervised injection sites in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Quebec City and New York City, and the location of a proposed site in Philadelphia. “And the science, the data rather, suggest that they won’t have a negative impact in terms of crime rates and public use. That stuff still occurs — it doesn’t eliminate all that — but if done right, the centers save lives, they move people towards treatment, there’s harm reduction in terms of the spread of communicable diseases, there’s all of that, and it can be done without negatively impacting a neighborhood.”

While visiting the “injection room” at one of the New York City facilities, Keenan also saw first-hand how the sites are designed to steer people interested in treatment towards that opportunity.

“There was an immediate kind of warm hand-off as the person requested treatment. And it happened right there, right before my eyes. It wasn’t staged or anything else, it was real,” he said. “A person who had been a longtime user just got to the point where they said, ‘I’m ready for help.’ And because of the relationship that had been formed, help was right there.”

Joining Keenan on “@Issue” was Brandon Marshall, Brown University’s chair of epidemiology, who said the sites could save money for cities and towns that choose to host them, in addition to saving lives. He said a study from the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review found that opening one supervised injection site in Boston could save the city $4 million a year.

“Those savings accrue because of, primarily, prevented ambulance runs and hospital visits that can be averted when overdoses are managed effectively on-site. So that’s such an important point,” Marshall said. “You know, we hear all the time about our strained health care system. These are sites that allow people to get more effective and appropriate management for overdoses on-site that then relieve that strain on emergency departments [and] EMS service.”

The Department of Public Health under Gov. Maura Healey has embraced overdose prevention centers as a tool to help stem the tide of overdose deaths, and the Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery Committee this month stamped its approval on the latest legislative proposals (H 1981 / S 1242) that would allow cities and towns to open the sites.

Despite claims that the sites will save lives, House and Senate Democrats have long hesitated to advance the proposals, which former U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling threatened would draw federal prosecution.



  1. MortisMaximus

    February 26, 2024 at 8:54 pm

    This guy must be a total socket!

  2. Dlafleur

    February 27, 2024 at 4:54 am

    California/New York thinking. Just look how great their major cities are doing

  3. MassTexan

    February 27, 2024 at 5:36 am

    Hahaha what a joke.

  4. Trump loves the poorly educated.....

    February 27, 2024 at 7:46 am

    Of course ignorant idiots would be against something that works, saves lives and money.

    • I Hate Stupid Democrats

      February 27, 2024 at 9:15 am

      NO ONE in this state knows how to save money , especially not the Democrats who’ve been running it forever. This state is one of the deepest in debt in the entire nation and the ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT ‘ crisis ‘ is compounding that. It’s already costing Massachusetts tax payers OVER $1 Billion dollars for that and that will increase. This has nothing to do with Trump. It has to do with stupid Democrats and their idiotic polices that are burying the regular hard working law abiding citizens of this state. If you voted for the morons on Beacon Hill , congrats you’re part of the problem.

    • MortisMaximus

      February 27, 2024 at 10:48 am

      Messages from the Messiah!

  5. Fed Up

    February 27, 2024 at 8:04 am

    Classic words of the government ” should save lives and money ” NONSENSE All the state is doing is creating more addicts. This idiot is just like every other brain dead politician in this state.

  6. Trump loves the poorly educated.....

    February 29, 2024 at 9:06 am

    So let me guess you did all the research? Oh and let me guess you’re an expert on addiction? Hey you’re such an expert why don’t you publish your findings?

    Dunning–Kruger effect

    The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias[2] in which people with limited competence in a particular domain overestimate their abilities. Some researchers also include the opposite effect for high performers: their tendency to underestimate their skills. In popular culture, the Dunning–Kruger effect is often misunderstood as a claim about general overconfidence of people with low intelligence instead of specific overconfidence of people unskilled at a particular task.

    • MortisMaximus

      February 29, 2024 at 7:51 pm

      Wikipedia, wow this must be a masterclass in Academia! You should be ashamed of yourself. I have a document signed by 51 former intelligence agents and Representitive Dan Goldman that says the Hunter Biden laptop was a Trump Campaign product with the earmarks of a Russian dis-info campaign. Your vigilance of propagandizing the F.R. reporter message board is duly noted.

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