Justice Department Tries to Block First U.S. Supervised Injection Site

Justice Department lawyers argued in federal court last week against the planned opening of the nation’s first supervised injection site in Philadelphia, NPR 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.

How to Use Naloxone to Reverse Opioid Overdose and Save Lives

A variety of drugs and drug combinations carry the risk of fatal overdose. Emergency protocol for any suspected overdose includes calling 911. However, in the case of opioids, which includes heroin and prescription pain medications like Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet, naloxone (also known by the brand name Narcan) can reverse an overdose, potentially saving a loved one’s life.

How to Respond to Overdose with Naloxone - Narcan

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