Philadelphia looks to fight opioid overdoses with 'safe injection sites'

Philadelphia approves ‘supervised injection’ of heroin other drugs amid opioid epidemic

Philadelphia approves "supervised injection" of heroin, other drugs amid opioid epidemic Officials in Philadelphia are moving to open safe-injection sites for drugs like fentanyl and heroin as the opioid crisis persists.

Philadelphia, which saw more than 1,200 overdose deaths in 2017, would become the first USA city to create such a site - though other municipalities have floated similar proposals. Last year, more than 1,200 people died from opioid overdoses, which is one-third more than in 2016. Further complicating any projection as to how the federal government would receive safe-injection sites is President Donald Trump's declaration that opioids are a nationwide public health emergency.

The city of Philadelphia does not plan on funding or operating the site, but rather providing support to private sector development of the sites. Thomas Farley reveals that these sites could turn out to be "a life-saving strategy and a pathway to treatment". "We want people saddled with drug addiction to get help".

Cities in Canada and Europe have had these types of facilities and consider them successful in preventing overdose deaths and reducing harm both to drug users and the greater public.

Opening a safe injection site - or Comprehensive User Engagement Sites, by the city's terminology - was among several recommendations presented by Mayor Jim Kenney's task force to combat the opioid epidemic.

Officials from Philadelphia visited Seattle and safe injection sites in Vancouver, where Farley said they have reduced overdose deaths, the spread of diseases like HIV and hepatitis C, and created safer neighborhoods that are free of used-needle litter.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer reported city officials concluded that a single site in the city would save 25 to 75 lives a year and millions of dollars in hospital costs and public funds, and at the same reduce public injection of drugs.

"We don't want them dying on the street and we want to have a place to administer Narcan if necessary", Kenney said after the WWE news conference. Critics have argued the sites may undermine prevention and treatment, and seem to fly in the face of laws aimed at stopping use of deadly illicit drugs.

Seattle announced their plans to open a supervised injection site past year.

District Attorney Larry Krasner has said his office won't prosecute users at safe-injection sites, giving some assurance people can use the sites for their intended purposes without facing any consequences.

America's opioid epidemic is so brutal and pervasive that it's literally contributing to lower life expectancy across the nation and hitting the USA workforce participation rate.

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