According to experts, it’s time for Safehouse to seek forgiveness rather than permit at a Philadelphia supervised injection site.Local news

For years, Philadelphia has been poised to become the first city in the country to open a supervised injection site where people can inject illegal drugs under medical supervision to prevent overdose.

On Tuesday, the city lost the race to New York City.

“Become number one [Overdose Prevention Center] The US site is an honor and an incredible step forward to end the opioid crisis, “said OnePoint, a New York City nonprofit founded to run the site, tweeted Tuesday morning. Did.

Researchers who followed the effort in New York say that a limited-time announcement from Mayor Bill de Blasio sneaked up on them. For a long time, New York organizers had not secured a building and faced significant obstacles at the state level. However, the door was opened when Governor Andrew Cuomo was absent and former De Blasio health commissioner took on the highest medical position at the state level.

“We have a new government in Washington and a new government in Albany,” De Blasio told reporters in October when he announced that the site would soon open. “It was a good time to do something about this topic, but in the end we got the kind of potential cooperation we needed.”

The two Manhattan sites in East Harlem and Washington Heights opened Wednesday with the blessings of the district attorney and police.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, Safehouse, a non-profit organization founded to open a supervised injection site here, is involved in a protracted court battle with no clear path to opening.

“The NYC Overdose Prevention Center is an important step forward in harm reduction and applauds everyone involved,” said Ronda Goldfine, Executive Vice President of Safehouse. “Philadelphia continues to focus on legal federal authorities for safehouses and other communities that want to prevent overdose.”

But that’s exactly what the focus is on the legal route without building community support for the site, and many harm reduction and legal professionals have said that Safehouse is the first race to open. I agree that I was late.

“It was a top-down technocratic approach that didn’t work,” said Leo Beletsky, a law professor at Northeastern University who closely tracked the battle trajectory of both cities to open the site.

Beletsky pointed out examples of syringe replacement, naloxone distribution, and fentanyl test strips. All of these are harm reduction strategies that were not legally licensed when activists began using them.

“Many innovations in harm reduction have actually progressed through civil disobedience in the United States,” he said. “It is not going through a formal legal route.”

To some extent, Safehouse had no choice but to go on a legal route. The Trump administration sued a nonprofit organization in federal court in February 2019 to prevent the opening of a safehouse. Initially, a judge in the US District Court ruled that Safehouse did not violate federal law. However, US lawyer William Maxwayne at the time appealed the decision, and a committee of judges in the Third Circuit overturned the decision. They agreed that such sites violate the so-called “Crackhouse Act” of the Federal Controlled Substances Act, which aims to outlaw sites operated for substance use.

Between the two rulings, Safehouse had a window when it could be legally opened. But it missed a chance. And it has to do with poor relationships with members of the community, according to Beletsky et al.

One of the major factors in the wasted attempt at the safe house was the squeaking of the landlord. The landlord withdrew from the lease because of concerns from his neighbors that the site would increase crime and target drug trafficking in the surrounding area. Staff who succeeded in opening a site in New York City solved the problem by opening a supervised injection site within an existing business that already provides syringe replacement services, and building managers are already organized. Said to trust.

“The big reason is [Supervised Consumption Site] With strong support from the building management company, both worked for opening the original [Syringe Services Program] And to expand to SCS later, “tweet Brian Hackel, an overdose prevention specialist at the Washington Heights Corner Project, one of New York City’s new sites.

In contrast, Safehouse deliberately decided not to open within the syringe replacement prevention point to avoid placing established tissue where many depend on the risk of being closed by law enforcement agencies. Did. Hackel said he thought the idea of ​​a supervised injection site would be harder for local businesses and the general public to swallow by creating a whole new entity.

The inability to rely on local landlords means that instead of trying to open in Kensington, which has the highest overdose rate in the city and has at least some foundations among its neighbors, Safehouse South It meant trying to open in Philadelphia

The neighbors there were blinded by the plan and came out in large numbers to oppose them. Due to the lack of community involvement, some city council members have been calm on this issue. Substantial community opposition took into account the stay given to US lawyers that prevented Safehouse from moving forward, and intensified the argument that ultimately helped him win the appeal.

Scott Barris, a law professor at Temple University and director of the Center for Public Health Law Studies, said: But he said it was only these shortcomings that could be blamed on Safehouse. This is a small organization designed to do the very specific thing of opening a supervised injection site.

If public drug trading and use is common and you want to win the support of a community like Kensington, where urban services are lacking for decades, an edgy solution to an isolated problem Barris said he needed more than an autonomous nonprofit to provide. You need a complete city device.

“This must be run by the city or sponsored by the city and run for a fee,” Burris said. “The city needs to incorporate other services and activities that people in the community feel they need to be able to comprehensively address the community’s serious field drug use and drug market problems.”

But now, Mr. Barris said it would be even more difficult for the mayor to formally support or fund this effort.

That’s one of the reasons why some people say it’s time to forget the law.

Although it is illegal for a safehouse to open in Philadelphia now, US lawyers can decide not to use their discretion to track the group, even if they open a supervised injection site. The Third Circuit’s ruling does not technically apply in New York City, but the government may crack down on New York City’s site, setting a precedent for the same reasons that McSwain did. De Blasio is betting that the federal government will treat supervised injection sites the same as state-level cannabis sales.

When it comes to insights into whether it’s a good bet, the Biden administration has stopped expressing its clear position at supervised injection sites. But that hand can quickly be forced.

After the Safehouse appeal was dismissed, he requested the Supreme Court to hear the case. The request was rejected and the group submitted a new discussion at the district court level. We are waiting for a response to a proceeding from the Justice Department that shows where the Biden administration stands on this issue.

But time is ticking, and Philadelphia is set to die in 2021 from a record number of overdose. When asked if Safehouse only needed to temporarily open the site, Peter Davidson, a researcher focused on harm reduction who studied the underground, had a supervised injection site somewhere in the United States. It is certainly so.

“If Safehouse did it, I really love it,” Davidson said.

Barris said that if the safehouse now opens, a new U.S. lawyer appointed by Biden will be appointed in the eastern district to replace Trump’s appointer Jennifer Arbitier Williams, who is likely to crack down on the safehouse. He said he thought he might be waiting.

Meanwhile, the New York City site is up and running. Rhode Island’s site is booming and other cities may soon follow suit. Barris is worried that Philly is at the end of the pack, not in front of it, at this rate.

“If saving lives through a mechanism like a safe injection facility results in years of proceedings and the most creative legal debate that can be considered in just one place, it’s anyway. It won’t help you at all, “he says. Said. “Too few and too late.”

According to experts, it’s time for Safehouse to seek forgiveness rather than permit at a Philadelphia supervised injection site.Local news

Source link According to experts, it’s time for Safehouse to seek forgiveness rather than permit at a Philadelphia supervised injection site.Local news

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