DENVER — A bill that would allow Colorado cities and counties to offer a place for people to use drugs under the supervision of a health professional passed its first major hurdle Saturday.
The Colorado House of Representatives passed House Bill 23-1202 in a 43-21 vote. The bill now moves to the Senate.
The bill would allow localities to set up a site, commonly referred to as a safe injection site, where people can use a previously obtained controlled substance in a monitored setting.
Advocates insist that these centers will help prevent overdose deaths and provide help to those who want it.
Opponents of the idea say it will lower property values in areas surrounding these centers, increase crime and enable drug use and addiction.
Colorado has seen a significant increase in overdose deaths in recent years. Data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment shows 1,477 Coloradoans died from overdoses in 2020, a 38% increase from the previous year.
If the bill passes the Senate, it may not get past Governor Jared Polis’ desk. The governor said last week that he was “deeply concerned” with the approach of the proposed legislation.