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In Massachusetts, State Medical Society Members Inch Toward Supporting Supervised Injection Sites

Ed Murray

Fueled by research conducted on such sites in other countries, the Massachusetts Medical Society's delegates voted to support studying a pilot program creating  a so-called "supervised injection facility," or SIF, in the commonwealth. 

Safe injection sites are designated areas where drug users can shoot up drugs under supervision of medical professionals, who can then intervene in the case of an overdose. They also provide clean needles and other supplies. If an SIF came to Boston, it would be the first safe injection space in the country. 

As reported by WBUR, several doctors described the "gut wrenching" option as the best of two bad choices--the other avenue being letting addicts overdose and die in streets, deserted buildings and drug houses:

'It doesn’t make sense for us as physicians to watch someone do something we know is dangerous and illegal,' said Dr. Glenn Markenson, the director of maternal and fetal medicine at Boston Medical Center. 'On the other side, does it make sense for us to have these people overdose on the street and not get care? They’re both terrible, but you have to do something.'

The approved resolution encourages the Medical Society to create a task force to study the legal and ethical ramifications of creating an SIF and report back with a suggested advocacy stance.

Creating an injection site would likely require some sort of legislative approval and, as per WBUR, it's uncertain how much support a program would have among lawmakers in Boston.

As Opioid Epidemic Rages On, Massachusetts Medical Society Backs Supervised Injection Rooms The Massachusetts Medical Society, representing 25,000 physicians and medical students, says it's time to try a new tool to stop overdose deaths: rooms where drug users would inject heroin or other drugs under medical supervision. The society's House of Delegates approved a pilot project of supervised injection facilities (SIFs) during the group's annual meeting Saturday.