Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George is creating a commission to study whether the county should allow so-called safe injection sites, where street drug users would have medical supervision and would be exempt from arrest.
George said she is not taking a formal position on the idea but wants an "open and honest discussion" about whether the sites could help in the fight against opiate abuse.
"People in our community are committing countless crimes, losing their jobs, losing custody of their children and even dying because of this disease," George said in a prepared statement. "I have an obligation to examine all potential solutions that could reduce overdoses and deaths and keep our community safe."
George is scheduled to hold a press conference next week to discuss the commission, which will include Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo, Deputy Police Chief Shawn Burke, Vermont Cares director Peter Jacobsen, Howard Center program coordinator Tom Dalton, Vermont Cares harm reduction program manager Theresa Vezina, Rapid Intervention Community Court coordinator Emmet Helrich and University of Vermont Medical Center physician Patricia Fisher.