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Philadelphia Creates Public Safety Plan for Safe Injection Sites

injection needle

Safe injection sites have been making national headlines for the past several months as people work toward opening the first safe injection site in Philadelphia with nonprofit Safehouse.

Safe injection sites, also known as supervised injection facilities, are places where intravenous drug users can come to inject illicit drugs under the supervision of medical staff. The main idea behind these facilities is to reduce the number of drug overdoses as the medical staff is present to immediately address the issue when the first signs of an overdose appear. Besides trying to reduce the number of overdose deaths, these facilities often provide other social services such as needle exchanges, HIV testing, Narcan distribution, drug education, and encouraging users to get treatment.

Philly Public Safety Plan for Opening

While many hope that these facilities could be a viable response to the nation’s opioid epidemic and the large number of opioid overdose deaths, not everyone was on board. After a long legal battle, safe injection sites were ruled legal and Philadelphia has been able to move forward with its plans to open the first facility in the United States in the drug-ridden neighborhood of Kensington. As part of the process, Philadelphia has created a safe injection site public safety plan to try and ensure that when the facility eventually opens, everything will run smoothly.

Many fear that these sites will increase crime in the area. In fact, research debunks this idea and suggests that supervised injection sites are associated with less outdoor drug use and have been found to have no negative impact on crime or drug use in the area.1 In order to ensure that increased crime is not an issue, the city created a public safety plan for safe injection sites that directly address this concern. On the City of Philadelphia government website, it states, “We are committed to making sure […] There is no increase in illegal drug sales, violent crime, property crime, disorderly related offenses, or loitering in the vicinity of an OPS [Overdose Prevention Site].”2 The city plans to do this by working closely with local law enforcement and ensuring that their presence around and near the facility is increased. Specifically, the city will also have narcotic enforcement present to avoid the possibility of illegal drug sales that target visitors.2

Another problem with the safety of safe injection sites involve the people who oppose them. Some people believe that these sites promote drug use and the focus should be on prevention or getting people treatment at PA drug rehab centers. Because of these beliefs, the city’s public safety plan for safe injection sites include handling any demonstrations or protests outside of the facility. According to the website, the City of Philadelphia is committed to ensuring that “No one intimidates OPS clients or interferes with individuals’ ability to receive services and health care” and the Philadelphia Police Department will work to “ensure peace in the area should demonstration activities occur.”2

Safehouse, the nonprofit who plans to open the facility, has also mentioned a vague safe injection site public safety plan. Their website says that “Safehouse will provide appropriate security for its facilities and immediate surroundings.”3 The nonprofit also encourages the help of local law enforcement officials. It states, “Safehouse believes in a partnership with law enforcement and supports appropriate law enforcement measures to address public safety issues resulting from the opioid epidemic.”

As a PHP drug rehab in Langhorne, we know that the opioid epidemic has been negatively impacting individuals and their families for several years. If you or a loved one is battling an addiction to opioids or other drugs, it is time to get help.

To get more information about Banyan Philadelphia and to start the recovery process, call us today at 888-280-4763.

Sources & References:

  1. NPR- What's The Evidence That Supervised Drug Injection Sites Save Lives?
  2. City of Philadelphia - Here’s what you need to know about Overdose Prevention Sites
  3. Safehouse Philly - Frequently Asked Questions

Alyssa who is the National Director of Digital Marketing, joined the Banyan team in 2016, bringing her five-plus years of experience. She has produced a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. Through strategic marketing campaign concepts, Alyssa has established Banyan as an industry leader and a national household name.