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Deadline Looms for Bill Legalizing Safe Consumption Sites

Time is running out on a California bill that legalizes overdose prevention programs, or safe consumption sites, with Monday as the deadline for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature.

Senate Bill 57 has been awaiting Newsom’s signature for about 12 days, as state and local leaders have made a renewed push for the hotly debated law. The governor’s signature is not guaranteed, and in fact, Newsom’s predecessor, Gov. Jerry Brown, vetoed a similar bill in 2018.

About a week and a half ago, state Sen. Scott Weiner, Assemblyman Matt Haney, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and other local leaders gathered to send a strong message to the governor, making a case that the bill provides for sterile needles and safe places for consumption and ultimately will save lives.

“Drug addiction is a health issue, not a criminal issue,” Weiner said.

Schaaf added: “The status quo is filling our prisons and our morgues.”

They also contend it will save public money.

Opponents say the sites enable dangerous and illegal activity on city streets. And they say the measure is proposing addiction maintenance when the focus should be on addiction recovery.

“San Francisco is putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound and not building out a fully functional recovery oriented system of care in handling the drug and fentanyl epidemic that has taken over our communities,” Mothers Against Drug Deaths said in a statement.

If the bill is signed into law, pilot sites will run for five years, through January 2028, in San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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