Philadelphia wants safe injection sites amid opioid fight

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Philadelphia wants safe injection sites amid opioid fight. Watch this report from Action News at 4:30pm on January 23, 2018. (WPVI)

Philadelphia wants to become the first U.S. city to allow supervised drug injection sites as a way to combat the opioid epidemic.

City officials made the announcement Tuesday, saying they would seek outside operators to establish one or more safe injection sites.

Safe injection sites are locations where people can shoot up under the supervision of a doctor who can administer an antidote if necessary.

Philadelphia Public Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says the sites could be "a life-saving strategy and a pathway to treatment."

However, Pennsylvania's attorney general is not on board.

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Are safe injection sites the answer?

Josh Shapiro expressed his opposition in a statement released this afternoon.

It reads, in part, "sanctioning a 'safe injection site' presents significant public safety concerns..."

He goes on to say that "changes in state and federal law would need to occur for these sites to operate legally."

Other cities have proposed the idea. No U.S. city has established such a site, though there are some in Canada and Europe.

Philadelphia has the highest opioid death rate of any large U.S. city. More than 1,200 people fatally overdosed in Philadelphia in 2017, one-third more than 2016.


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