Scott jabbed for safe injection site veto

By Guy Page

The Democratic candidate for governor and an outspoken progressive columnist have chastised Gov. Phil Scott for his veto of H.728, which includes money to study “safe injection sites” for opioid users.

So-called safe injection are popular in progressive cities (like New York) because they establish police-free zones for opioid injection. Supporters say they reduce overdoses among their users. Opponents say their overall impact on reducing overdoses is less clear, and are a ‘foot in the door’ for legalizing possession and sale of hard drugs.

The bill orders further study (not actual funding of) safe injection sites. But that’s a bridge too far for Scott, who explained his veto to the Legislature:

“We are all aware the pandemic has had negative impacts on the mental health of Vermonters. This includes concerning increases in drug and alcohol addiction, overdose deaths and suicides.

“Prior to the pandemic, Vermont was making progress treating opioid addiction with our groundbreaking “hub-and-spoke” treatment system and medically assisted treatment of our corrections populations.

“We also utilize harm reduction strategies, including syringe programs, distribution of Narcan, fentanyl test strips and comprehensive community education. These are proven, evidence-based approaches to saving lives but we must also continue to focus on preventing addiction in the first place and supporting people through treatment and recovery.

“Unfortunately, this bill proposes to shift state policy and financial resources away from prevention and toward unproven strategies such as overdose prevention sites. It’s important to note that what little data exists on this approach is for sites located in large cities, so it’s not applicable to the vast majority of Vermont. Last year, I signed the experimental decriminalization of buprenorphine and am now waiting for the data to show if this had a positive impact on addiction or overdose rates in our state. I believe it’s important to analyze this data before moving to another experimental strategy.”

Democratic challenger Brenda Siegel said Scott’s veto continues what she calls the failed War on Drugs.

Brenda Siegel

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brenda Siegel

“For the third time this year the Governor vetoed a good drug policy bill,” Siegel said. “This one would have expanded access to rapid treatment and saved lives. It was vetoed because it created an actionable study and he did not want to consider or learn more about a subject that makes him uncomfortable. That is not responsible governance.”

“To continuously veto bills based on failing drug war beliefs is harmful to our state and our communities. What we know is that harm reduction decreases death, use and potency of substances  While criminalization increases use, death and potency of substance. This is not experimental, it is data, it is science and it works,” Siegel said.

In a column headlined “Was This Phil Scott’s Dumbest Veto?”, Progressive columnist John Walters reflects the left’s increasing impatience with Scott’s veto pen.

“Howard Dean … amassed his 20 vetoes in 11 years. It’s taken Scott less than six years to rack up 35,” Walters fumed in his self-published The Vermont Political Observer. “I suspect that Scott’s true motivation is antipathy toward safe injection sites. If his people do a study, it might show that the idea has merit. That’d make it tougher to hold a hard line while retaining his fig leaf of moderation.”

Guy Page is publisher of the Vermont Daily Chronicle. Reprinted with permission.

Image courtesy of Brenda Siegel
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5 thoughts on “Scott jabbed for safe injection site veto

  1. Last I knew, taking drugs like this was illegal.
    So why are we not arresting these people instead of rewarding them for their illegal activity?

    How about we enforce the laws we have?
    And why do we even create laws anymore since clearly we are going to simply pick and choose what will be followed based upon who is in control and what works for them..

  2. How do these junkies get to these ‘safe injection sites’, and who drives them home when they’re done?

  3. No, Ms Siegel, legislation for ‘safe injection sites’ is NOT good drug policy and Governor Scott was absolutely correct to veto it. His action is very responsible governance. It has never made sense to establish safe spaces for abusers of illegal drugs. The illegal drug culture, with the sale and use of deadly drugs, and the rapid rise of robberies and crime to pay for them, the gang violence, and shootings associated with illegal drug trafficking, is only going to increase with the faulty concept of tax payer funded safe injection sites. Drug dealers see them as no police zones where they can operate with impunity. The progressives pushing this foolishness are totally clueless and fail to realize that the vast majority of Vermonters don’t want the illegal drug culture polluting their cities, towns or rural neighborhoods, much less pay for a program that does nothing to eradicate drug use. The war on drugs is failing because of BS programs like these proposed safe injection sites, perpetuated by lame politicians looking for ‘feel good’ moments…

  4. If you remember your history, physician Howard Dean as Governor was a staunch opponent of methadone clinics, as he saw what one did to the neighborhood where he practiced medicine in New York City. Dean did not consider these clinics to be overall “harm reduction strategies” when you consider that he took an oath as a physician to “first, do no harm”. Some democrats will be voting for this nitwit Siegel out of party loyalty, but have to be aware of the long-term societal damage that proposals like hers impose.
    The proposal for “safe injection facilities” is yet another “harm reduction strategy” brought to us by the folks that proposed and implemented needle “exchange” programs. The needle programs were marketed to the public emphasizing the word “exchange” and argued that junkies could bring in their old needles and “exchange” them for new ones, one for one. Surprise, surprise, these programs turned out to be simply needle GIVEAWAY programs, and make no such demand that you bring in old ones. And their “harm reduction” strategy in the name of “public health” has resulted in many more blood-tainted syringes disposed of improperly in public places where children and pets are at risk of contacting them. That is a “public health” disaster that shifts the risk of HIV and hepatitis infection from the junkies who make the CHOICE to engage in the risky behavior onto innocent bystanders in public spaces.

  5. What is a “safe injection site”? The upper arm? The abdomen? The buttocks? Seems like the injection will do the same thing regardless of where the needle goes.

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