US judge rules in favour of supervised injection sites

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A US federal judge has ruled that a non-profit group’s bid to open a site in Philadelphia where people can inject drugs under medical supervision does not violate federal law, an unprecedented decision that could affect the way cities across the country address the opioid crisis, says a report in The Washington Post. US District Judge Gerald A McHugh wrote that a provision of the Controlled Substances Act aimed at closing crack houses does not apply to the non-profit organisation’s bid to aid opioid abusers in Philadelphia’s drug-ravaged Kensington section.

The report says cities across the US, including Denver, Seattle, San Francisco and New York, have considered opening such facilities but have been stymied by the federal law and the Justice Department’s vow to halt any project of its kind.

Safehouse, a non-profit organisation that has the support of Philadelphia officials and former governor Ed Rendell, who sits on its board, decided to press forward nonetheless. The Justice Department sued in February to halt the project, leading to McHugh’s decision Wednesday.

The report says supervised injection sites are widespread in Canada and Europe where, advocates and researchers say, they have saved thousands of lives of people who use opioids and have directed some of them into treatment.

The Washington Post report

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