Last night, the Denver City Council voted to allow a supervised injection site pilot program in Denver, a step that will require the Colorado General Assembly to pass a bill that authorizes a safe-use site in Denver. A bill to that effect almost passed during the last legislative session, but concerns prompted some Republican legislators to scuttle that move.
I understand. My city council representative sent out a survey on this issue. Some 660-plus people responded.
To the question “Do you feel reducing drug overdose deaths and combating illegal drug use should be a priority for the City of Denver?” garnered 76% yes votes. But the question “Do you support this proposal to develop a supervised self-injection site in Denver?” only received 56% of the votes. And the question “Presently such a program is illegal. Before approving an ordinance, should Denver wait until the State of Colorado has passed legislation legalizing the operation of supervised self-injection sites?” saw the yes vote dropped to 42%.
So, there are qualms. But 12 of the city council members voted for the program, and only one member voted no. I watched some of the city council’s passionate discussion via video this morning; it was spirited.
It’s a big step for the city, but, let’s face it, who wants to see more people die from an overdose? Addiction is something that takes over someone’s life, and because of the use of pain killers, many of us have seen a friend get caught up in that world — from oxycodone to beyond. (The aqua pills at the top of this post are one of the many dosage strengths of oxycodone.)
Below are links from news outlets that covered the vote, as well as links to other publications that have made a deep dive into the issue. The story from radio station WHYY, in Philadelphia, takes a look at what has transpired in Vancouver, B.C., which opened the first safe-use site in North America.