Unfortunately, Philadelphia has not taken appropriate steps to combat the opiate problem. The city’s current plan to combat this epidemic is to allow “safe injection sites” which are locations where drug users can go to shoot up heroin with free supplies and without fear of arrest.
The bottom line is that they would be illegal. That being said, this idea supposes that addicts will go out of their way to use the facility when they want to get high. This is not the reality, however. Addicts are less concerned with safety and their own mortality than where and when their next high will happen. Vancouver, which allows safe injection sites, looks like a war zone. Addicts all over the place. In 2003 when this facility opened, Vancouver was experiencing somewhere between 200-300 drug-induced deaths per year. They’re on pace to surpass 2016’s drug-induced death total of more than 900 people.
Safe injection sites will only make the problem worse. By making it easier for addicts to use heroin, we are enabling them and delaying them from hitting rock bottom and realizing they need help. It’s difficult to see how enabling addicts to continue a terribly destructive lifestyle is compassionate. Every recovering addict will tell you that they had to hit rock bottom before they wanted to change and that desire must drive their recovery. By normalizing illegal and destructive behavior like this, we are not helping, rather we’re dooming them to a life without the prospect of help and rehabilitation.
Safe injection sites will also create crime and endanger those in nearby neighborhoods. Simply put, once you allow the open use of drugs, the open selling of drugs will follow. Addicts will be hanging around getting high all day. There will be needles scattered throughout the surrounding area as well. And, which neighborhood is unlucky enough to get a safe injection site? Not the Mayor’s neighborhood, of course. Putting a safe injection site up tells that neighborhood that we don’t care about you or your family, and facilitating addicts getting high is more important than you or your family’s safety.