On Wednesday the state House of Representatives passed legislation, Senate Bill 5380, to address opioid use disorder and provide treatment and prevention services.
Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn, was able to attach an amendment to the bill that would prohibit the Health Care Authority from partnering with any local jurisdiction that supervises injection sites for illegal drugs.
The majority party has criticized Stokesbary’s amendment as a “political thing to just try to get their next hit piece for the campaign trail,” despite controlling the chamber 57-41.
In response, Stokesbary has issued the following statement addressing the criticism:
“I am disappointed that the other side believes we are playing politics with such a serious issue. Addressing the opioid crisis this session has been a priority for both parties.
“Recent efforts by the medical community and government agencies have helped stem the abuse of prescription opioids. However, there has been a rise in the use of illegal opioids such as heroin. Allowing for safe injection sites goes against what we are trying to accomplish with this legislation; goes against addressing the opioid crisis; and goes against what the public wants.
“My amendment passed by a vote of 60-38, with 19 Democrats voting in favor. Clearly there is bipartisan consensus that supervised injection sites should not be part of the state’s response to the opioid epidemic. And after the adoption of the amendment, this bipartisan bill passed the House 96-2.
“The amendment was offered to ensure the state’s resources and attention are going toward prevention and treatment. I will continue to push forward with what I believe to be good policy, and I am convinced the best way forward is to provide actual prevention and treatment options for those struggling with opioids and illegal drugs.”