safe injection sites
Advocates for safe injection sites rallied in front of the James A Byrne Federal Courthouse in Center City to show their support for evidence-based harm reduction policies, an end to the dehumanization of people suffering from addiction and the opening of Safehouse a safe injection site in Philadelphia, PA on September 5, 2019. CORY CLARK / NURPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Federal Judge: Safe Injection Sites Do Not Violate Drug Laws

In the battle over safe injection sites for drug users, a federal judge ruled Wednesday that they do not violate federal drug laws. Safe injection sites are designed to prevent people from overdosing and limit the spread of diseases.

U.S. District Judge Gerald A. McHugh passed down the ruling on his interpretation of drug laws set up in the 1980s. This change is only for Philadelphia for now, but it could also impact legal battles elsewhere.

“Safe injection sites were not considered by Congress and could not have been, because their use as a possible harm reduction strategy among opioid users had not yet entered public discourse,” McHugh said in his ruling.

Safehouse, a nonprofit group, will work on clarifying the judge’s ruling with him before beginning the process of opening safe injection sites all across Philadelphia. But Republicans likely will not give up the fight that easily, and the Justice Department will probably challenge McHugh’s ruling, AP reported.

“Any attempt to open illicit drug injection sites in other jurisdictions while this case is pending will continue to be met with immediate action by the department,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen said in a statement.

Related Article: Rep. Rashida Tlaib Says Republicans Are ‘Twisting and Turning’ Her Words Into Anti-Semitism

It’s a controversial issue. Canada and Europe have already implemented safe injection sites. Those against it say it’s promoting drug use. But advocates say it’s a place where people can get counseling as well as safely inject drugs.

“It’s a better option than having people die in streets and alleyways and fields. And it will also help the community,” Debbie Howland of Drexel Hill, who lost a daughter to an overdose death last year, told AP. “With 70,000 people dying a year [nationally], you’ve got to do something.”

McHugh agreed with advocates.

“The ultimate goal of Safehouse’s proposed operation is to reduce drug use, not facilitate it, and accordingly, [the law] does not prohibit Safehouse’s proposed conduct,” the judge wrote in his ruling.

Latest News

Southern Company Commits $700,000 To Advance Racial Equity and Social Justice for the AAPI Community

Originally published at southerncompany.mediaroom.com. Southern Company ranked No. 20 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   The Southern Company Gas Charitable Foundation is announcing plans to donate $700,000 across its service territories to charities in support of improving equity and social justice. On the six-month…

Oak Park, Illinois

Illinois Professor Suspended, Charged with Hate Crime After Allegedly Spitting on Black Woman and Using Racial Slur

An Illinois professor has been suspended from his job and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly spat on and racially attacked a Black female driver in a suburban Chicago grocery store parking lot earlier this month. Antonio Planas of NBC News has reported that Alberto Friedmann, a professor…

Joaquin Castro

New Research Shows a Continued Lack of Hispanic and Latinx Representation in Movies, Media and Publishing

In a bit of disheartening news in the midst of Hispanic Heritage Month, a new government study has confirmed that Latinx individuals are vastly under-included and underrepresented in many parts of the media world. Astrid Galvan of the Associated Press reported on the study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office,…

Newberg, Oregon

Oregon School Employee Suspended for Showing Up to Work in Blackface To Protest State Vaccination Policies

Racial controversies continue to mount at the Newberg Public School system located in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. Last week, students in the district’s high school conducted a mock “slave auction” on social media in which they ridiculed fellow classmates and discussed how much they would or wouldn’t pay to…