Philly Seeks Operator for Supervised Drug Injection Sites

Trash including discarded syringes and other rubbish in an open-air heroin market in Philadelphia. The city seeks an operator for supervised drug injections sites.
Image: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Philadelphia officials announced the city is seeking an outside operator for supervised drug injection sites as a way to combat the city’s opioid epidemic.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — 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.”

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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