Bay Area lawmaker again pushes for safe injection sites

State Senator Scott Wiener announced on Thursday that he intends to introduce legislation for a second time that would create a pilot program for so-called safe drug injection sites in San Francisco and also Oakland.

"It's about meeting people where they are and giving people options to be healthy and move into recovery," Wiener said. 

Under the senator's proposal, nonprofit organizations would provide an indoor space where drug users can get their fix under the supervision of medical professionals.

"Fentanyl overdoses can be prevented when people test the potency of their drugs before using them. Lives will be saved with safe injection sites,"  San Francisco Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said.

Wiener has always been an advocate for safe injection sites, and this proposal will be the second time in the batter's box. 

Two years ago,  then Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the legislation saying that it enabled illegal drug use. 

Now city leaders are hopeful current Gov. Gavin Newsom, a former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, who wrestled with the same homeless crisis, may see it differently.

"He's provided some positive comments about safe injection sites in the past and he will be open as to what safe injection sites can accomplish," said Mayor London Breed.

City leaders say drug abuse needs to be treated as a health issue, not as a crime problem. But in a statement to KTVU. U.S Attorney David Anderson says otherwise. 

"Adding doctors falsely suggests that what is happening is safe and acceptable," Anderson said. He continued, "The U.S. Attorney’s Office will respond to supervised injection sites by enforcing federal law." 

If the proposal is signed into law, safe injection sites could conceivably open in 2022.