DENVER — The Republican minority leader in the Colorado House likened supervised injection sites to a separate lane for drunk drivers and threatened recalls against Democratic supporters, but not the Republican co-sponsor.
State Representative Patrick Neville of Castle Rock appeared on the Friday edition of Next with Kyle Clark to discuss expected legislation that would allow Denver to create America’s first supervised drug injection site.
“It’s a horrendous idea,” Neville said. “I think this is the equivalent of basically having a separate lane for those who choose to drink and drive.”
Neville called on fellow lawmakers to travel to Vancouver, Canada to observe supervised injection sites in operation in that city.
Neville also suggested app-based therapy instead of supervised injection sites.
“Why don’t we actually expand the ability for therapists to actually do mobile apps so people don’t have to worry about going into a therapist’s office,” Neville said. “Give [therapists] some more tools so that maybe they have some more prescribing authority for other medications that solve withdrawal symptoms instead of just enabling the actual legal use itself.”
Neville expressed concern about the likely location of the first site, across from the Capitol at the Harm Reduction Action Center, a needle exchange site at 213 East Colfax.
Democratic Senator Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood told Next Thursday that the location on Colfax was the probable site.
Democrats control both houses of the Colorado legislature but Democratic Governor Jared Polis has not committed to signing a bill to allow a supervised injection site.
“We have school groups that come to the capitol tour the capitol and having them walk by such a site is really concerning,” Neville said. “It’s already a dangerous place down there and this is going to make it more dangerous.”
“We’ve had aides actually get mugged and pistol-whipped down there and this is only going to add to that problem,” Neville said.
Neville has floated the idea of recall elections against Democrats who support supervised injection sites. Three Democrats lost their seats amid recalls following 2013 gun control bills.
“I’m willing to do whatever it takes to stop it,” Neville said. “Anyone who actually pushes legalized heroin injection sites, I think, is way out of touch with the voters of Colorado.”
Neville was asked on Next whether he’d pursue a similar recall against the Republican co-sponsor of the expected legislation, Senator Kevin Priola of Henderson.
“Probably not,” Neville said.