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Effort to bring supervised drug injection site to Denver fails at State Capitol

DENVER — A plan for a supervised injection site in Denver will not happen this year.

“I will continue to be an advocate on this issue, but will not be bringing a bill this year,” State Sen. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, said Tuesday.

In November, the Denver City Council approved the idea to allow those addicted to heroin and other opioids a supervised place to get high in an effort to prevent overdose deaths.

The plan requires a change in state law. On Tuesday, lawmakers in the General Assembly said they will not be introducing a bill for consideration this year.

The bill would have had to pass both houses of the General Assembly and be signed by Gov. Jared Polis, who said in January he was “skeptical of the general direction” of the proposal.

In December, the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Denver field office for the Drug Enforcement Administration published a joint statement saying the planned injection site was illegal.

“The idea for heroin injection sites was a bad idea to start with, and in light of all the pushback it got, Senator Pettersen must have realized this would be politically impossible,” House Minority Leader Patrick Neville said in a statement.

“I’ve talked with many concerned parents, and with people who live and work downtown, who didn’t want injection sites. I was actually very concerned about the school groups visiting the Capitol that would have to walk past these sites. … Heroin injection sites are not the safe or compassionate path for Colorado.”

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