By Derek Cantù / WCBU News

Americans have responded to drug addiction in a number of different ways in recent decades. The War on Drugs of the 1980s and 90s spawned mass incarceration of Black and Brown populations. Some addicts, many of whom have some measure of wealth and privilege, are sent to rehab.

In the face of the opioid crisis of the last decade, there has been a growing recognition of the inevitability of drug use. That attitude change has led to the proliferation of clean needle exchange centers and providing overdose medication like naloxone to drugs users, their families and law enforcement.

In Illinois, one state legislator wants to provide a legal path for another approach: allowing people addicted to drugs to take illegal substances under the supervision of a medical professional.

State Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) has proposed the creation of safe consumption rooms — also referred to as supervised injection facilities. Proponents of similar programs around the world argue they allow people who suffer from addiction to take substances in a safe environment and reduce the likelihood of fatal overdoses.