The Pennsylvania Senate recently passed legislation to preemptively ban safe injection sites across the state of Pennsylvania. That bill is currently under consideration by the state House of Representatives. Safe injection facilities operate in other parts of the world, including Canada, Europe, and Australia, but the first such site did not open in the U.S. until 2021, in New York. Many communities question the legality of sites that promote and facilitate drug use, but the current administration seems willing to explore, research, and discuss expanded operations in the U.S. because of the lives saved when users have clean, sterile surroundings and trained staff to attend them in the case of overdoses and drug reactions that would otherwise result in fatalities.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia City Council passed Ordinance 230410 by a margin of 13 – 1, setting a precedent for other cities throughout the country currently fighting for drug prevention rather than managed reaction. This legislation would require anyone wanting to launch a safe injection site to obtain a variance, prompting proper notice and a process for neighbors to weigh in. The burden to receive a variance is very high. The city council also passed Resolution 030432 by the same margin, 13 – 1, making it mandatory to involve community groups and other branches of the city government in settlement negotiations to enforce and uphold appeals. Philly House CEO Jeremy Montgomery felt both these moves by the city council counted as “wins” for Philadelphia, the state of Pennsylvania, and potentially other communities across North America. Click here for more details.
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