Cities Planning Supervised Drug Injection Sites Fear Justice Department Reaction
In parts of the country hit hard by addiction, some public health officials are considering running sites where people can use heroin and other illegal drugs under medical supervision. Advocates say these facilities, known as supervised injection sites, save lives that would otherwise be lost to overdoses, and provide a bridge to treatment.
There are at least 13 efforts underway in U.S. cities and states to start an official supervised injection site — with advocates in several cities saying they want to be the first. And the forms vary. Seattle is planning a safe injection van; Philadelphia is considering pop-up tents; some elected officials in places like Denver, Vermont, Delaware and San Francisco, are trying to gather support for proposals.
Harm reduction advocates hope supervised injection sites can follow the path of needle exchange programs which have gained wider acceptance over the years, thanks to their role in containing the spread of HIV and AIDS. There are now needle exchange programs in 39 states.
But many safe injection site proposals seem to be waylaid in community debate and legal uncertainty.
Scott Burris, director of Temple University's Center for Public Health Law Research, says municipalities are worried about a showdown with Jeff Sessions' Department of Justice. [...]addiction criminal law public health