City takes a breather on safe-injection sites to address public safety concerns

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on Wednesday indicated the city would decelerate its efforts to open an overdose prevention web site due to public safety concerns.

Kenney, who met Monday with group members and representatives of Safehouse, the group working to open a protected injection web site, acknowledged the city nonetheless desires such a place, nonetheless that safety concerns raised by the residents and enterprise owners in Kensington would have to be addressed first.

Safehouse had acknowledged a potential location in Kensington, one in every of Philadelphia’s most drug-addled neighborhoods. But Kenney is now encouraging that new potential sites be considered by Safehouse, a privately-funded Pennsylvania nonprofit whose mission is to save lives by providing a differ of overdose prevention corporations.

Kenney indicated it’d take not lower than a variety of months to work by the use of choices to these group concerns.

Here is Kenney’s assertion in full:

“With over an estimated 1,100 overdose deaths closing yr, it is clear that the opioid catastrophe nonetheless grips Philadelphia. People die every day, and we contemplate that Overdose Prevention Sites (OPS) can save lives and have to be located inside the coronary coronary heart of the catastrophe.

“However, reliable public safety concerns have been raised by the group in and spherical Kensington, and I’ve educated Safehouse that these safety concerns ought to be addressed sooner than the establishment of an OPS.

“While the City tackles problems with public safety, I urge Safehouse to have a have a look at completely different potential sites. Over the following few months, the City pledges to work intently with group members in order that they understand why establishing an OPS is crucial — the knowledge says that it is going to save lives, reduce the transmission of infectious sickness, and help be part of folks combating substance use dysfunction to treatment and completely different corporations. It might even reduce the litter associated to open-air drug use.

“Kensington is the epicenter of the opioid catastrophe, nonetheless everyone knows that behavior is a citywide disadvantage. We can’t open one OPS in Kensington and rely on it to address this concern at scale. Multiple sites are needed and have to be explored by Safehouse or completely different OPS operators.

“As we’ve realized from the Philadelphia Resilience Project, we should always steadiness the desires of those affected by behavior with the desires of residents whose neighborhoods have been deeply impacted by this epidemic. The City is devoted to partnering with the group to address their concerns and to work together in an open and honest dialogue on OPS and one other factors they face.

“In order for Philadelphia’s OPS to be a nationwide mannequin for hurt discount, we should be sure that it’s applied respectfully and in partnership with various stakeholders each step of the way in which. We are dedicated to that work.”

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