Blue City Bans ‘Safe Injection Sites’ Amid Spiraling Drug Crisis

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Blue City Bans ‘Safe Injection Sites’ Amid Spiraling Drug Crisis


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Philadelphia’s Democratic-controlled city council overruled the mayor’s veto of a bill that would ban so-called safe injection sites from the vast majority of the city as overdose deaths increase, according to The Philadelphia Tribune.

By a 14-1 vote, the council overturned a veto from Democratic Mayor James Kenney of a bill that updates Philadelphia’s zoning code to prohibit safe injection sites from all but one of the city’s ten council districts. One member, Democrat Jamie Gauthier, said her constituents should be able to “decide for themselves whether they want life-saving overdose prevention centers in their neighborhoods,” and used city law to exempt her district from the ban, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Residents in some Philadelphia neighborhoods have protested against safe injection sites, fearing they will exacerbate the drug epidemic, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s not that people hate people who use drugs, but they want to be able to just walk their kids to school and to park their cars and not be robbed,” Keith Humphreys, a drug policy expert at Stanford University, told Axios.

“I am disappointed though not surprised that Council moved forward with legislation that will add unnecessary roadblocks to life-saving measures in most of Philadelphia,” Kenney said of the override in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “It’s clear that this is a policy discussion beset with misinformation and political pressure.”

Councilwoman Quetcy Lozada spearheaded the effort to pass the legislation, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Lozada represents the neighborhood of Kensington, which harbors one of the largest open-air drug markets in the country.

(Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

The city needs to “push for enforcement” in communities harmed by drug use and “bring back the conversation on prevention and recovery,” Lozada told CBS News Philadelphia. The councilwoman clarified that centers could seek exemptions from the ban by obtaining a zoning variance for their facility, which would require community approval, according to CBS News Philadelphia. “This bill puts the decision in hands of the people … of the people that live there and that would be directly impacted by it,” Lozada said.

More than 1,400 people died of overdoses in Philadelphia during 2022, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Overdose deaths among black Philadelphians increased by 20% between 2021 and 2022.

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Other blue cities facing related problems have similarly eschewed progressive drug policies. San Francisco Mayor London Breed recently proposed requiring recipients of municipal welfare to pass drug tests, according to Politico. Seattle’s city council, meanwhile, voted earlier this month to allow the City Attorney’s Office to prosecute possession and the public use of drugs, according to the Seattle Times.

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All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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