Philadelphia has announced plans to open supervised drug injection sites. These facilities would provide users with clean needles, medical supervision, and resources to seek addiction help.
The decision to establish the drug injection sites comes after an increase of opioid deaths in Philadelphia. According to the Department of Public Health, the amount of overdose deaths in 2017 is expected to be around 1,200, which is nearly 300 more than 2016.
District Attorney Larry Krasner has placed the blame on pharmaceutical companies for selling such high powered drugs.
“And at the same time, the supply of pills have quadrupled, the supply of fatal overdoses from heroin and the supply of people who are suffering addiction from heroin and opioids have quadrupled,” Krasner says.
City officials believe that the supervised drug injection sites will prevent people from dying from drug overdose.
The city’s proposal has provoked both positive and negative reactions. Solomon Jones, who is a radio host at Praise 107.9, says, “If you are helping someone to survive a heroin overdose, then you are helping them to live an addiction.”
Jones has made an event called “Safe Injection Sites: A Community Forum,” in order for people on both sides to discuss the sites.
“[Philadelphia] just announced it from on high,” says Jones. “‘We’re going to do these safe injection sites,’ never came to the community, never brought people together, and so I took it upon myself to do that.”
Despite opposition, there are some people that think the sites will greatly help the city.
“To me, I think it’s a no-brainer that we need an engagement site where people can go and use drugs,” says Jillian Bauer-Reese, an assistant professor at Temple University. “I think they will save lives and will also save money and decrease public drug use.”
City officials will bring in private organizations to fund and run these consumption sites as well. These organizations are still unknown to the public.