On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced he has vetoed a bill that would allow “overdose prevention programs” often referred to as a safe injection of consumption sites where individuals may use illegal controlled substances at supervised facilities.
Newsom announced he was returning SB 57 without his signature.
This bill authorizes certain jurisdictions to approve any number of “overdose prevention programs,” often referred to as safe injection or consumption sites, where individuals may use illegal controlled substances at supervised facilities.
I have long supported the cutting edge of harm reduction strategies. However, I am acutely concerned about the operations of safe injection sites without strong, engaged local leadership and well-documented, vetted, and thoughtful operational and sustainability plans.
The unlimited number of safe injection sites that this bill would authorize -facilities which could exist well into the later part of this decade – could induce a world of unintended consequences. It is possible that these sites would help improve the safety and health of our urban areas, but if done without a strong plan, they could work against this purpose. These unintended consequences in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland cannot be taken lightly. Worsening drug consumption challenges in these areas is not a risk we can take.
We should strive to ensure our innovative efforts are well planned, even when they start as pilots, to help mitigate the potential for unintended impacts. Therefore, I am instructing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to convene city and county officials to discuss minimum standards and best practices for safe and sustainable overdose prevention programs. I remain open to this discussion when those local officials come back to the Legislature with recommendations for a truly limited pilot program – with comprehensive plans for siting , operations, community partnerships, and fiscal sustainability that grams will be run safely and effectively.
Senator Wiener’s Statement on Governor Newsoms Veto of Safe Consumption Sites Legislation
Sacramento – Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) released the following statement regarding Governor Newsom’s veto of Senate Bill 57, Senator Wieners legislation to legalize safe consumption sites in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland:
“Today, California lost a huge opportunity to address one of our most deadly problems: The dramatic escalation in drug overdose deaths. By rejecting a proven and extensively studied strategy to save lives and get people into treatment, this veto sends a powerful negative message that California is not committed to harm reduction.
“SB 57 is not a radical bill by any stretch of the imagination. It simply gave permission to cities—each of which has requested that permission—to pilot safe consumption sites to save lives and get people into treatment. The coalition behind SB 57 is massive, including physicians, health experts, frontline workers and local elected officials.
“We don’t need additional studies or working groups to determine whether safe consumption sites are effective. We know from decades of experience and numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies that they work. Safe consumption sites have been in operation around the world for approximately 30 years, with great success and literally zero overdose deaths. These sites are a proven strategy to reduce overdose deaths, pressure on emergency rooms, and public drug use, while expanding access to drug treatment.
“Other states and cities in the US are already moving forward with this proven health model. New York City, with the vocal support of Mayor Eric Adams, has successfully implemented safe consumption sides. Indeed, Mayor Adams is advocating to expand the sites to operate 24 hours a day, due to their success in reducing public drug use. Rhode Island passed a law authorizing safe drug consumption sites, and Massachusetts is moving in that direction. Philadelphia is on the verge of settling with the Biden Administration to potentially allow it to open safe consumption sites consistent with federal law.
“Today’s veto is tragic. For eight years, a broad coalition has worked to pass this life-saving legislation. Each year this legislation is delayed, more people die of drug overdoses – two per day in San Francisco alone. While this major setback for the effort to save lives and connect people to treatment, we must not—and will not—let it end this movement. We’ll continue to fight for an end of the War on Drugs and a focus on drug use and addiction as the health issues that are.”
Gallagher Reacts to Governor Newsom Vetoing Safe Injection Site Bill
SACRAMENTO – Today, Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher (Yuba City) issued a statement reacting to Governor Newsom’s veto of Senate Bill 57, which would have legalized open air drug consumption sites in the cities of Los Angeles, Oakland and San Francisco:
“Providing state subsidized and supervised drug consumption is a sign that Capitol Democrats have given up on governing. This bill should have never made it to the Governor’s desk in the first place. I am very grateful to the Governor for being the sense of reason in this case.
“We need to stop enabling criminal acts. Instead, we should promote policies that will empower people to safely get off the streets and reintegrate into our communities. “
Senator Shannon Grove
BREAKING: Senate Republicans have secured a VETO of dangerous bill, SB 57! These so-called “safe” spaces to shoot up deadly drugs are the opposite of compassion. THANK YOU for sharing the news and urging the governor to reject this measure.