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Governor Newsom will have to make a decision on safe drug consumption sites

James Heilman, MD
Naloxone kits as distributed in British Columbia, Canada. Naloxone treats overdose caused by narcotics in an emergency situation.

California is one signature away from lifting a statewide ban on safe drug consumption sites for illegal drug users.

Senate Bill 57 would allow safe drug consumption sites to operate in the state. The Bill would also launch pilot safe consumption sites in San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles.

The bill passed California’s Senate Wednesday. Governor Gavin Newsom has not signaled whether he intends to sign the bill into law.

This bill is a response to the worsening drug overdose crisis in the state. Here in the Bay Area, San Francisco saw more than 700 fatal overdoses in 2020, and more than 600 in 2021. City health officials say the number of overdoses this year is expected to climb. Similar safe consumption sites in Europe, Canada and Australia have had success for decades supervising people without a single overdose death reported.

Here in the U.S. a few cities have seen recent success as well. Among them, two New York City safe consumption sites were able to treat 150 overdoses in their first three months

Sebastian Miño-Bucheli is a multimedia journalist / producer at KALW Summer Training 2022 program. He's originally from the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, but he's been loving his past 4 years here in the Bay Area. Sebastian is an Ecuadorian-American on track to write stories for the Latinx community.