Instead of safe-injection site, Philly official proposes different approach to opioid crisis

Philadelphia Councilwoman Cindy Bass outlined concerns about the city's plan for a safe-injection site for drug users. She says it would expose the city to liability officials have not fully considered. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia Councilwoman Cindy Bass outlined concerns about the city's plan for a safe-injection site for drug users. She says it would expose the city to liability officials have not fully considered. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia has proposed creating a safe-injection site where drug users could shoot up under medical supervision. A city councilwoman, however, is objecting to the idea.

In a letter to Mayor Jim Kenney, Philadelphia City Councilwoman Cindy Bass presented a series of potential scenarios.

“What if a pregnant user comes, are we going to sanction that as the city of Philadelphia? What if a user comes who drives up in an automobile?” she wrote. “Liability issues abound, and I don’t think as a municipality we thought all those things through before we said we were going to do this.”

Instead, Bass said, the funds for the safe-injection site would be better spent on tried-and-true prevention methods.

“I think we need to look at how do we engage, what we know works, what has worked, and what has worked on a limited budget,” she said Thursday.

That includes investing in drug-treatment facilities and monitoring pharmacies that are filling prescriptions for opioids, she said.

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