Judge Rules Supervised Injection Site Does Not Violate Federal Law

A judge ruled Wednesday that a Philadelphia group’s plan to run a supervised drug injection site does not violate federal drug laws, The New York Times reports.

In February, the Justice Department sued Safehouse, the nonprofit organization that wants to open the site. U.S. Attorney William McSwain said Safehouse’s intended activities would violate a portion of the Controlled Substances Act that makes it illegal to manage any place for the purpose of unlawfully using a controlled substance.

Safehouse said the law is not applicable because the main purpose of the supervised injection site is saving lives, not providing illegal drugs. At a hearing in August, Safehouse’s legal team explained the nonprofit would not provide drugs. People could bring their own drugs to inject while medical staff stood by with the opioid overdose antidote naloxone. Safehouse would provide the opportunity for people to get access to treatment if they wanted it, the lawyers said.

This week, Judge Gerald A. McHugh wrote that a provision of the Controlled Substances Act did not apply to Safehouse in part because the group’s goal is to reduce drug use, not facilitate it.

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