Federal prosecutors sue to block 1st supervised opioid-injection site in US

Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia on Feb. 6 filed a civil lawsuit against the nonprofit group Safehouse, which plans to open a supervised space in Philadelphia for people to use illicit drugs, according to WHYY.

Former Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell launched Safehouse in October, despite government pushback. Along with running a safe injection site, the nonprofit would offer social services and referrals to primary care physicians to those wishing to seek permanent care.

The suit, filed in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice, represents the government's first move to intervene on supervised injection sites after months of threats. Prosecutors are asking U.S. District Court Judge Gerald McHugh to determine whether the sites are illegal based on the Controlled Substances Act.

"This is in-your-face illegal activity using some of the most deadly, dangerous drugs that are on the streets. We have a responsibility to step in," William McSwain, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, told WHYY. "It's saying, 'Safehouse, we think this is illegal. Stop what you're doing.'"

If the supervised injection site is deemed legal, Philadelphia would be the first city to open such a site in the U.S.

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