Philly shares safety plan for supervised injection site

A drug needle on the street.
Wikimedia Commons

Philly is currently waiting for a final court ruling that could potentially establish the country’s first supervised injection site.

Although the ruling has not been announced yet, the city has issued a public safety plan. The plan outlines how the police will protect neighborhood residents and those who are using the injection site.

“Recognizing that there’s another decision imminent, we felt like this is important information to have,” Philadelphia Managing Director Brian Abernathy told WHYY.org.

WHYY.org reports that Abernathy managed neighborhood opposition and helped lead the charge on the Philadelphia Resilience Project. This project implemented a large volume of street cleanup initiatives and also helped clear some sizable homeless encampments last winter.

The process to open up the supervised injection site has been going on since January 2018, WHYY.org reports.

Safehouse, the nonprofit who plans on opening the site, was sued upon its formation by U.S. Attorney William McSwain.

Last week, Phila.gov added a detailed page about the injection site to its website, outlining their protection plan.

According to Phila.gov, here are a few things that the police will do to help protect Philadelphians. Firstly, it was reported that the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) will have a constant presence in the immediate and surrounding area during the operation hours of the site.

According to Phila.gov, below are a few examples of how PPD is planning on protecting the general public:

  • PPD will work closely with SEPTA Transit Police Department to provide a strong uniform presence along public transit routes.
  • Narcotics enforcement will prevent targeted sales to individuals entering and exiting the facilities.
  • PPD’s Civil Affairs Unit will ensure peace in the area should demonstration activities occur.
  • Town Watch Integrated Services will assist in organizing neighborhood cleanups, mediating disputes, conducting drug prevention and education, and helping students travel safely to and from schools.
  • The city will work with community groups to organize public meetings and support area schools and recreation centers.

Besides Philly protecting site users, Safehouse is also thinking about how to protect site users. It was reported that in January it hosted training for volunteer escorts.

The city’s plan does not clarify what the relationship will be between local police and federal law enforcement⁠—or if there will be any at all.

U.S. Attorney McSwain has threatened federal enforcement if Safehouse does open, pending an appeal from his office, according to WHYY.org.

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