By Maria Medina

SANTA CRUZ (KPIX 5) — More than 50,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year. A new bill that has cleared the state assembly would allow California drug users to shoot up in supervised settings.

If the bill passes, it would be legal in eight counties in California, including San Francisco, Alameda and Santa Cruz.

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Nicholas Dorman with The Living Centers said, “It’s really tragic. It’s disturbing.”

For the last 16 years, Dorman has helped his dad run drug and alcohol treatment centers.

They plan to open one in Santa Cruz.

Dorman said, “Even in broad daylight you know, you could just walk by somebody who’s having a full body convulsion with a needle sticking out of their arm.”

Their mission to help addicts began 16 years ago when Dorman lost his brother in a crash.

Dorman says his brother was drunk.

Dorman said, “I’m grateful that something is being done.”

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And now they’re learning of a bill making its way through the state assembly that would allow users to inject illegal drugs in controlled health facilities.

The goal is to reduce public drug use, syringes on streets, infections and overdose deaths.

Dorman said, “This is going to allow health professionals to go and seek out these drug users and you know offer them treatment in one location.”

The county spokesperson says they had no comment on the bill because they had no idea Santa Cruz would be included.

But the bill’s author says the county, like many others in California, has a high opioid overdose rate.

Scott Weiner said, “I’d rather them do it in a safe supervised space and get them off of the streets.”

Dorman says he knows addicts need all the help they can get, because he witnesses the drug use everyday.

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Dorman said, “And you see that everywhere you look. Every park, every side street, every dark alley way.”