As overdose deaths continue to mount, Philadelphia officials propose radical action
After averaging more than 100 overdose deaths a month in 2017, Philadelphia officials are moving forward with controversial plans for safe injection sites.
As reported by WHYY, city officials gave the proposition the green light Tuesday. They were armed with feasibility studies, harrowing overdose statistics and the backing of key leaders, including the mayor and a newly elected district attorney.
“There are many people who are hesitant to go into treatment, despite their addiction, and we don’t want them to die,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, Philadelphia’s health commissioner and co-chair of the city’s opioid task force. Supervised safe injection sites, he said, save lives by preventing overdose deaths and connecting people with treatment.
Thomas Farley, Philadelphia health commissioner, acknowledged that the notion of a space where drug users can bring their own drugs to safely use without penalty is controversial.
“No one here condones or supports illegal drug use in any way,” he said “But we recognize how difficult addiction is — the grip of addiction interferes with its own treatment.”
Councilwoman Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez, who has voiced opposition to a safe injection site in her district (one at the heart of the crisis), is wary of the city’s plan.
“This notion of letting a private developer or a private person come tell us how this could be done, we’re not paying for it, we’ll do wrap-around services, so much of that is just up in the air,” Quiñones-Sánchez said. “So why make an announcement with no answers?”
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To read more about how Philadelphia is considering safe injection sites, please visit WHYY.com.