With a federal judge ruling Tuesday that supervised drug injunction sites do not violate federal law, the first such facility could open as early as next week in Philadelphia.
The project was spearheaded by the nonprofit group Safehouse, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Other U.S. cities have also been contemplating opening such sites where addicts can shoot up heroin or other illegal drugs under medical supervision. Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is backing such a facility while San Francisco is also interested. Proponents argue that the sites are a form of “harm reduction” while opponents say they perpetuate addiction. (RELATED: Drug Deaths Skyrocket In Vancouver Despite Legal Injection Sites)
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner put a decidedly political stamp on the decision, tweeting on Tuesday that detractors “who can’t see or hear past their Trumpian egos: Harm reduction SAVES LIVES.”
Once again, for the folks who can’t see or hear past their Trumpian egos:
Harm reduction SAVES LIVES. https://t.co/ovItvQ4FXa
— DA Larry Krasner (@DA_LarryKrasner) February 25, 2020
Krasner, a progressive lawyer who has never served a day as a prosecutor, was heavily financed by George Soros in his bid to become the city’s DA.
United States Attorney for eastern Pennsylvania William McSwain has blocked the development of the site, saying it would be against federal law to allow people to legally ingest illegal drugs. He said Tuesday that he will appeal the decision by Judge Gerald McHugh that has cleared the way for the injection site and plans to ensure that the law is enforced while he proceeds with his appeal, the Inquirer reported.
“We believe that Safehouse’s proposed activity threatens to institutionalize the scourge of illegal drug use — and all the problems that come with it — in Philadelphia neighborhoods,” reads a statement from McSwain. “In light of these concerns, Safehouse should act prudently and not rush to open while the appeal is pending. But if it does rush forward, my office will evaluate all options available under the law.” (RELATED: Trudeau Government Opening Up More Heroin Injection Sites)
Proponents of the facility maintain that the safe injection site will be an effective remedy for the local opioid crisis that has left 3,500 residents of the city dead from drug overdoses over the last three years.
“Philadelphia, like the nation, is in a crisis,” said Safehouse vice president Ronda Goldfein. “And we have the opportunity to address that crisis; we owe it to Philadelphia to do that.”
Goldfein is planning to have a town hall meeting on March 10 to hear what the local citizens have to say about having the site in their backyard. “This is not pop-up tents and Narcan. This is a dedicated connection,” Goldfein told the Inquirer.
The first supervised injection site in North America — Insite — opened in Vancouver in 2003. There is even a site operating in a Canadian federal penitentiary.