First Safe-injection Site May Open in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is considering embarking on a controversial plan to become the first city in the nation where drug users can shoot up under supervision. A for-profit company would allow intravenous drug users to shoot up in their location where they could get help from treatment centers, social services clinics and wound care facilities along with getting clean needles and Naloxone. While the plan does not need city approval, some city council members have started supporting the plan because Philadelphia has one of the highest overdose rates in the United States. The safe-injection zones may soon become operational.

On January 23, 2018, the Philadelphia city council announced support for the plan despite the fact that neither city permission or special zoning will be required. The federal government still has the option to step in and prevent investors from opening a site. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that police could not invade the site catching people with illegal drugs. In fact, Councilwoman Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez who has a large drug problem in her district says that more information is needed before any site could be opened.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner says that he has no plans to persecute anyone who would invest or work in a safe-injection site. He says that he believes that the good that people working in these locations could do far outweigh the bad allowing the law to look the other way. He says that these sites would be designed to save lives.

One group who would be very interested in operating such a site would be Prevention Point Philadelphia. Advocates with the group say that concerned citizens in Philadelphia must stop looking the other way when four to five people a day are dying from drug overdoses in the city.

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