BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A commission led by the top prosecutor in Vermont’s most populous county has announced support for the creation of supervised injection sites for heroin and other illicit-drug users to reduce overdoses and get more people into treatment.
Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George said Wednesday that such facilities would reduce the risk of deadly overdoses and help get people into treatment.
“They reach a demographic that isn’t currently getting themselves into treatment,” she said.
The state’s public safety commissioner, Thomas Anderson, said the injection sites would send “the wrong message, at the wrong time, to the wrong people,” the Burlington Free Press reported. A state police chiefs association also opposes the idea.
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Republican Gov. Phil Scott said he’s not sure the facilities would be the most effective use of taxpayer dollars to fight drug use, but he said he’s “willing to listen.”
“During my brief research, I think it’s inconclusive whether they really help or not,” he said.
There are nearly 100 sites around the world but none in the U.S., the commission said. A site opened in Vancouver, Canada, in 2003, and Montreal opened several earlier this year.
Several bills have been proposed in the Vermont legislature related to supervised injection sites.