Judge backs Philadelphia's supervised injection site

A federal judge on Oct. 2 ruled that Philadelphia's proposed supervised injection site does not violate federal law, representing a landmark decision that could alter how opioid use disorder is treated in the U.S., reports The Washington Post.

Federal prosecutors filed a civil lawsuit against the nonprofit group Safehouse in February, attempting to block the group's attempt to open a supervised space in Philadelphia for people to use illicit drugs. Prosecutors alleged that the site would violate a provision in the Controlled Substances Act that makes it a felony to knowingly open, lease or maintain any location for the purpose of distributing or using controlled substances.

U.S. District Judge Gerald A. McHugh ruled that the Controlled Substances Act does not apply to Safehouse's efforts to aid individuals with opioid use disorder.

Ronda Goldfein, vice president of Safehouse, told the Post that the group is pleased with the ruling, which "lays the legal groundwork for moving ahead with this critical public health intervention."

The Justice Department said it is disappointed in the court's decision and "will take all available steps to pursue further judicial review," according to an Oct. 2 statement from Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.

"Any attempt to open illicit drug injection sites in other jurisdictions while this case is pending will continue to be met with immediate action by the department," Mr. Rosen added.

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