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Safe Injection Sites Ruled Legal

women getting injection

The City of Brotherly Love has made national news as a local nonprofit, Safehouse, fights to open safe injection sites in Philadelphia where people can use drugs like opioids under the supervision of a medical professional.

The hope is that overdose deaths could be avoided and social services like formal Philly opiate addiction treatment programs could be promoted, but not everyone agrees with the creation of these safe injection sites.

Safehouse Taken to Court

After citing a section of the Controlled Substance Act that was directed toward closing crack houses, Justice Department prosecutors sued Safehouse stating that such facilities would be violating these laws. The opposing parties went to court and U.S. District Judge Gerald McHugh made the final ruling.

On October 2nd, safe injection sites ruled legal by Judge McHugh. In response to the claim that Safehouse would be in violation of the “Crack House” statute or the section 21 U.S.C § 856(a)(2) of the Controlled Substance Act, he reported that “no credible argument can be made that facilities such as safe injection sites were within the contemplation of Congress either when it adopted § 856(a) in 1986, or when it amended the statute in 2003. And that baseline reality ultimately has substantive significance in determining whether the statute is properly applied to the safe injection site proposed by Safehouse.”1

For now, Safehouse can move forward with its plans to open its first facility in the drug-ridden Philadelphia neighborhood of Kensington and the first of its kind in the United States. If everything goes as planned, Safehouse would open more safe injection sites throughout the city.

Safe Injection Sites Ruled Legal: What Does This Mean?

Although safe injection sites have currently been ruled legal by a federal judge, the legal battle may not be over. The federal government is expected to appeal, and a final ruling could take years to come to fruition, but this ruling will set a major precedent for the country.   Philadelphia is not the only place where safe injection sites are a heavily debated topic. Similar facilities already exist in Canada and Europe. Also, other U.S. cities have begun to debate whether or not to open sites like these in an effort to help with the growing opioid crisis. If taken to the Supreme Court and the final ruling states that safe injection sites do not violate federal drug laws, these other cities would be able to move forward with these projects. As of right now, only time will tell if these places will become a reality in our country.

As a drug rehab in Philadelphia, we will continue to closely monitor this story, but for now, the battle against opioids continues. If you or a loved one struggles with an addiction to opioids or another drug, do not wait to get help.

Reach out to us at 888-280-4763 to learn more about how we may be able to help.


  1. United States of America v. Safehouse
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Safe Injection Sites Ruled Legal
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