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Philly considers safe injection sites to prevent opioid deaths

Officials are pushing to be the first city in the U.S. to have a supervised injection site with a controversial proposal

By EMS1 Staff

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia officials are pushing to become the first city in the U.S. to have a supervised injection site with a controversial new proposal.

NPR reported that officials argue that the city is in a prime position to be the first in the country to open a safe injection site, with most of the overdoses occurring in one neighborhood.

District Attorney Larry Krasner said no one would be prosecuted for coming to the site.

"Supervised injection sites are a form of harm reduction," Krasner said. "The only way to get people to turn their lives around is to keep them alive long enough so they can do that. And we're going to do that."

Officials said Mayor Jim Kenney is working to convince skeptical administration members that the sites are needed before making a public announcement on the topic.

Patrick Trainer, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Philadelphia field office, opposes the plan.

"The concept, for us, with safe injection sites, is just not a concept we can get behind," he said. "Is it going to stop with a safe injection site? Are we going to do that and then, next year and the year following, are we then going to be talking about, OK, there are still overdose deaths, so maybe we need to look into government-supplied drugs?"

There are currently around 90 safe injection sites around the world, but no city-sponsored sites are currently in the United States.

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