With legislation to authorize overdose prevention centers Assembly Health Committee Cleanup, complaints about the uncertain legal basis of the facilities have started again. These complaints should stop.
The idea that the state government can’t act because the centers are technically in conflict with federal law has never made much sense in a state that, like so many others, has spent months and considerable public resources establishing a local cannabis industry. , touting it as a revenue generator and justice initiative, while marijuana itself remains a federal Schedule I controlled substance.
We have been able to do this because it is understood that the feds will allow the states to make their own decisions on this issue, and the FBI is not going to break down the doors of licensed marijuana shops. There’s no reason to think the feds would take a radically different stance on safe injection sites.
In fact, two centers have been operating in Upper Manhattan with the support of the City Council and without incident for over a year, and their main problem is not interference from the feds but a lack of adequate funding. That’s largely due to the fact that its supposedly unauthorized status makes it more difficult for public and private entities to provide funds.
Rather than helping, the state has thus far been more of a nuisance, as when the commissioner of the Office of Addiction Services and Supports rejected state funding for the sites after expert pitched them as an effective strategy to combat addiction. drugs abuse. -Directed by the Advisory Board of the Opioid Liquidation Fund. We said then that the Legislature should take up the cause, and lawmakers should use the current momentum to get the job done now.
Whatever individual questions or concerns members may now have about the location or operations, they should keep a few key facts in mind: These centers have prevented all overdose deaths when allowed to operate and often lead to people to longer-term treatment and recovery. Everything else is details.