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Massachusetts to take up drug decriminalization and safe drug consumption site bills

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Two bills decriminalizing possession of controlled substances (S 1277 and H 2119) and three bills calling for safe drug consumption sites (S 1258, H 2088, and S 1272) are on the agenda for a Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery virtual public hearing.

The decriminalization bills state that the offender “shall be subject to a civil fine of not more than fifty dollars or participation in a needs screening to identify health and other service needs, including but not limited to services that may address any problematic substance use and mental health conditions, lack of employment, housing, or food, and any need for civil legal services.”

Bill H.2088 would create “a 10-year pilot program establishing two or more supervised consumption sites that utilize harm reduction tools, including clinical monitoring of the consumption of pre-obtained controlled substances in the presence of trained staff, for the purpose of reducing the risks of disease transmission and preventing overdose deaths.”

Supporters of the consumption sites bills, have so far been unable to get their bills before the House and Senate for votes, according to the State House News Service.

The American Civil Liberties Union plans to testify in support of the bills.

Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee signed a bill on Friday that approves a pilot program for safe injection sites.

The committee says its hearing will run from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday.

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