Colorado lawmakers denied a supervised injection site for heroin users in Denver | VailDaily.com

Colorado lawmakers denied a supervised injection site for heroin users in Denver

John Frank
The Denver Post
photo - Sharps disposal at the Harm Reduction Action Center

Sharps disposal containers filled with thousands of used syringes at the Harm Reduction Action Center November 03, 2017. The Harm Reduction Action Center helps injection drug users with education, empowerment, but also includes a program for users to exchange used needles for new needles.

DENVER — A Republican-led legislative panel rejected a bipartisan bill Wednesday to allow Denver to create a supervised injection site for drug users, despite pleas from public health experts and relatives of overdose victims.

The measure, Senate Bill 40, would have allowed one community in Colorado to create a site where drug users could inject with clean needles under the supervision of staff with medical training who can administer the overdose-antidote naloxone.

“The objective of this bill is merely to keep people alive,” said Dr. Robert Valuck, who coordinates the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, in testimony before lawmakers. He called the legislation “a critical piece of a very large puzzle to address” the state’s opioid crisis.

In Denver, 174 people died of overdoses, at least 20 of them in parks, alleys or business bathrooms in 2016. That’s up from 129 deaths in 2015.

Read about the failed safe injection site bill from The Denver Post.