A group of 11 Attorney Generals, along with 14 cities, joined together to write a series of amicus briefs. They urged the federal Supreme Court to take up a safe consumption site case for an organization called Safehouse. This organization would be a safe place for people to consume illegal drugs. By offering a staffed, controlled environment, studies show safe consumption sites reduce the amount of overdose deaths. Trained staff are able to react quickly to any situation. Additionally, there is less spread of blood infectious diseases, like HIV and Hepatitis C.
“To reduce the number of needless opioid overdoses, we need creative and aggressive preventive measures—like those offered by Safehouse—which allows individuals suffering with addiction to safely access injection sites that are staffed with appropriate medical, mental health, and other professionals who can also offer recovery treatment and counseling. These approaches have taken root in other countries and have proven effective in reducing opioid deaths.”
Safehouse planned on opening a location in Philadelphia, however they were stopped by the Trump administration. It wasn’t until last month that Safehouse filed a lawsuit regarding the legality of safe consumption sites. It followed shortly after Rhode Island’s governor signed a law legalizing safe consumption sites in the state. Other states who submitted their own amicus briefs include: Illinois, Delaware, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, and Virginia.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the opioid crisis, taking the lives of far too many Americans, including District residents who continue to overdose,” said the Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine, D. He led the charge, along with Fair and Just Prosecution, to coordinate the amicus briefs.
Safe Consumption Sites
There are safe consumption sites located around the globe, but there is only one in North America. Located in Vancouver, Canada, Insite opened in 2003 and has supervised over 3.6 million injections. Plus, staff have reversed 6,400 overdoses with the opioid antagonist Naloxone. With reported positive outcomes, lawmakers in the U.S. are urging the Supreme Court to validate the legality of safe consumption sites. That way, fewer opioid related deaths will occur and the overdose epidemic can begin to slow down.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has not commented on the Safehouse case. If more information becomes available, we will update you with the latest.
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