Philadelphia officials announced on January 23, Tuesday, that they have approved of the idea of officially sanctioned ‘safe injection’ sites for drugs like heroin and fentanyl as the opioid crisis continues across the United States. The Philly State Attorney General, however, says that there is no actual safe way to inject these highly addictive and dangerous drugs.
The officials revealed their backing of the creation of these sites, which would also function as a USA rehab facility, overseeing not only the medically- and professionally-supervised consumption of drugs, but also allowing for the facilitation of the recovery of drug addicts that want to recover. These safe-injection sites, will be staffed by qualified medical professionals who can supervise drug use and respond immediately, should an overdose occur. These sites will also provide important access to clean supplies, such as needles, among others.
Philadelphia officials have yet to reveal details on how to handle these new facilities, each of which will be more than just a USA rehab facility or a schedule on the sites.
According to a scientific paper on the safe injection sites released by Philadelphia officials, these new sites could save lives, with the research suggesting a minimum of 24 lives saved annually, up to 76 in maximum, on top of reducing HIV and Hepatitis cases. Philadelphia, in 2017, was witness to over 1,200 deaths by overdose, and is currently wrapped up in the deadliest and biggest health crisis it has faced in recent history.
Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says that the sites would be more than about supervised injection, but also to bring in people in order to talk about drug treatment, with the sites’ additional USA rehab facility functionalities allowing for recovery and help. Part of the sites would be to publicize these places, bring interest and attract funders people who care about the issue, want to save lives and see the sites as a possible opportunity to do so.
Within hours of the announcement, however, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro already decided to oppose the plan, saying that there is no safe way to handle these drugs, and that this program was not and would not be an effective path to recovery and treatment.
The announcement followed the recommendation put out in 2016 by The Mayor’s Task Force to Combat the Opioid Epidemic. The site is one of 18 prevention plans included in the group’s final report.