Opioid overdoses spiked again in 2017, killing over 1,500 Marylanders from January through September. In response to this crisis, state Senator Brian Feldman has introduced Senate Bill 288.
SB 288 would create Overdose Prevention Centers or Supervised Drug Consumption Facilities, to be run by community-based organizations to provide safe, carefully monitored spaces for the consumption of Opioids and other drugs. The objective of such facilities is to get people off the streets in a clean safe place, providing sterile needles and access to medical care, including access to drug treatment. On February 14, an amended version of SB 288 was passed by the Finance Committee that would create a modest pilot program, authorizing (not creating or funding) two facilities, one in an urban setting and one in a rural setting.
Overdose Prevention Centers save lives, as evidenced here, here, and here. Simply put, NO ONE has ever died of an overdose in a Supervised Consumption Facility. Further, bringing people who suffer from chronic addiction out of the shadows of abandoned buildings and back alleys will bring more people into treatment and recovery and avert future health problems. This public health, harm reduction approach is exactly what Maryland needs to fight the Opioid crisis and to save lives.
I urge the Maryland Senate to pass SB 288 and send it on to the House of Delegate.