Overdose Prevention Site Legalization

Existing law makes it a crime to possess specified controlled substances or paraphernalia. Existing law [u1] makes it a crime to use or be under the influence of specified controlled substances. Existing law additionally makes it a crime to visit or be in any room where specified controlled substances are being unlawfully used with knowledge that the activity is occurring, or to open or maintain a place for the purpose of giving away or using specified controlled substances. Existing law makes it a crime for a person to rent, lease, or make available for use any building or room for the purpose of storing or distributing any controlled substance. Existing law authorizes forfeiture of property used for specified crimes involving controlled substances.

This bill would, authorize the Cities and/or Counties in Utah to approve entities to operate overdose prevention programs that satisfy specified requirements, including, among other things, providing a hygienic space supervised by health care professionals, as defined, where individuals who are at risk for overdose, death  , drug injury and disease transmission can consume pre-obtained drugs,  that are currently being used in public spaces[u2]  by providing sterile consumption supplies, and providing access or referrals to substance use disorder treatment. Testing for HIV and viral Hepatitis and over overdose prevention, education, and other services. The bill would require any entity operating a program to provide an annual report to the city and county, as well as the State as specified.

The bill would exempt a person from, among other things, civil liability, professional discipline, or existing criminal sanctions, solely for actions, conduct, or omissions in compliance with an overdose prevention program that is authorized by the city and/or county. It would also provide civil immunity for participants of a clean syringe exchange program; and provides civil and criminal immunity for the approved supervised overdose prevention program including any activity related to transportation for the purpose of disposal of syringes that have been exchanged;

Drug paraphernalia - exemption - repeal. (1)  A person shall be exempt from the provisions of sections LOOK UP LAW SECTION if he or she is participating as an employee, volunteer, or participant in an approved syringe exchange program created pursuant to (ADD LAW) A SUPERVISED OVERDOSE PREVENTION FACILITY CREATED PURSUANT TO THIS BILL. EFFECTIVE ADD DATE. We need this because HB308 does not carve out an exclusion in the paraphernalia law for people accessing services or providing services.

[u3]  

 

SECTION 1.

 

Section ADD SECTION and numbers, to read:

(a) Notwithstanding any other law, the Cities and Counties of Utah may approve entities within its jurisdiction to establish and operate overdose prevention programs for individuals that satisfy the requirements set forth in subdivision (c).

(b) In order for an entity to be approved to operate an overdose prevention program pursuant to this section, the entity shall demonstrate that it will, at a minimum:

(1) Provide a hygienic space supervised by health care professionals where at risk individuals who use drugs can be supervised when they consume pre-obtained drugs. For purposes of this paragraph, “health care professional” includes, but is not limited to, a physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, licensed vocational nurse, registered nurse, psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, licensed professional clinical counselor, mental health provider, social service provider, or substance use disorder provider, trained in overdose recognition and reversal pursuant to Section ADD SECTION and Code.

(2) Provide sterile consumption supplies, collect used hypodermic needles and syringes, and provide secure hypodermic needle and syringe disposal services.

(3) Administer first aid, if needed, monitor participants for potential overdose, and provide treatment as necessary to prevent fatal overdose.

(4) Provide access or referrals to substance use disorder treatment services, medical services, mental health services, and social services.

(5) Educate participants on the risks of contracting HIV and viral hepatitis.

(6) Provide overdose prevention education and access to or referrals to obtain naloxone hydrochloride or another overdose reversal medication approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

(7) Educate participants regarding proper disposal of hypodermic needles and syringes.

(8) Provide reasonable security of the program site.

(9) Establish operating procedures for the program, made available to the public either through an internet website or upon request, that are publicly noticed, including, but not limited to, standard hours of operation, a minimum number of personnel required to be onsite during those hours of operation, the licensing and training standards for staff present, an established maximum number of individuals who can be served at one time, and an established relationship with the nearest emergency department of a general acute care hospital, as well as eligibility criteria for program participants.

(10) Train staff members to deliver services offered by the program.

(11) Establish a good neighbor policy that facilitates communication from and to local businesses and residences, to the extent they exist, to address any neighborhood concerns and complaints.

(12) Establish a policy for informing local government officials and neighbors about the approved entity’s complaint procedures, and the contact number of the director, manager, or operator of the approved entity.

(d) An entity operating an overdose prevention program under this section shall provide an annual report to the city and county, as well as the state that shall include all of the following:

(1) The number of program participants.

(2) Aggregate information regarding the characteristics of program participants.

(3) The number of hypodermic needles and syringes distributed for use onsite.

(4) The number of overdoses experienced and the number of overdoses reversed onsite.

(5) The number of persons referred to drug treatment.

(6) The number of individuals directly and formally referred to other services and the type of service.

(e) Notwithstanding any other law, a person or entity, including, but not limited to, property owners, managers, employees, volunteers, clients or participants, and employees of the Cities and Counties of the state of Utah acting in the course and scope of employment, shall not be arrested, charged, or prosecuted pursuant to Section ADD SECTIONS, including for attempt, aiding and abetting, or conspiracy to commit a violation of any of those sections, or otherwise be penalized solely for actions, conduct, or omissions on the site of an overdose prevention program approved by the applicable City and/or County , or for conduct relating to the approval of an entity to operate an overdose prevention program, or the inspection, licensing, or other regulation of an overdose prevention program approved by the City and/or County.

(f) Notwithstanding any other law, a person or entity, including, but not limited to, property owners, managers, employees, volunteers, clients or participants, and employees of the applicable City and County that has the overdose prevention program, acting in the course and scope of employment shall not be subject to civil, administrative, disciplinary, employment, credentialing, professional discipline, contractual liability, or medical staff action, sanction, or penalty or other liability, or have their property subject to forfeiture, solely for actions, conduct, or omissions in compliance with an overdose prevention program approved by the City and County as specified, or for conduct relating to the approval of an entity to operate an overdose prevention program, or the inspection, licensing, or other regulation of an overdose prevention program approved by the City and County pursuant to this bill.