The May 26 news article “California Assembly approves supervised opioid injection site” noted nationwide interest in these harm reduction facilities but failed to mention bills introduced in the Maryland General Assembly this past legislative session.

In January, Sen. Brian J. Feldman (D-Montgomery) and Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D-Prince George’s) cross-filed SB 135 and HB 139, on the Overdose and Infectious Disease Prevention Site Program, enabling no more than six community-based organizations in the state to establish and operate such a site, upon approval by and subject to monitoring from the Maryland Department of Health and local health departments, on a pilot basis for no more than four years.

The committees to which the bills were referred received no written or oral testimony opposing the bills. More than 20 people, including law enforcement officers, a public-health researcher, physicians, nurses, social workers, former users and the loved ones of overdose victims, testified in favor of the bills. They poignantly highlighted that this evidence-based strategy has been shown to reduce opioid deaths and increase the likelihood that a person with opioid use disorder will seek treatment, would save $4 for every $1 spent and allow us to help people with addiction.

Despite this and without committee votes, the bills received “unfavorable reports” in their respective committees. (“Report” is a euphemism, by the way. There is no report, and no rationale is provided.) Why, one might ask? I think the answer is revealed in a quote in the article from a California state senator: “California legislators tend not to be intimidated by the Trump administration.” 

Anne Wilson, Annapolis