Safe Injection Sites Are Moving Forward—DOJ Should Get Out of the Way

Safe Injection Sites Are Moving Forward—DOJ Should Get Out of the Way


The Point

Safe injection sites are a proven method for reducing overdose deaths, but the Department of Justice has been using a 1986 law that President Joe Biden championed in the Senate to prevent their operation. DOJ should step aside.

The Biden administration has the power to reduce drug overdoses:

  • The Department of Justice can determine that more harm than good would come from enforcing a certain law, and in response, may decline to sue or prosecute people under that law. For example, Obama’s DOJ announced it would not challenge state laws legalizing marijuana, despite the fact that marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.
  • The Department of Justice should not interfere with the establishment of safe injection sites, which work to reduce overdose deaths, increase drug treatment, and stop the spread of infection and viruses. The attorney general should order a halt to enforcement actions against safe injection sites and order the DOJ to drop any pending lawsuits, as the Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board recommended.
  • The Biden administration must act now. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that a planned safe injection site in Philadelphia violates federal law. The decision is likely to freeze similar efforts across the country unless DOJ publicly announces no further challenges will be brought. 

Safe injection sites prevent overdoses:

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