U.S. v. Safehouse, et. al.
U.S. v. Safehouse, et. al. (E.D. Pa. Oct. 2, 2019): A federal judge from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that Safehouse’s plan to open a supervised injection site in Philadelphia did not violate the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). At this facility, Safehouse, a non-profit, intends to offer a variety of services including medication assisted treatment, medical care, referrals to a variety of social services, and medically supervised consumption and observation rooms. The federal government filed suit to prevent the opening of this supervised injection site, alleging that it violated CSA, specifically 21 U.S.C. § 856(a)(2), known colloquially as the “crack house statute.” This provision makes it illegal to manage or control any place for the purpose of facilitating illicit drug use. The judge held that Safehouse did not violate this provision because the purpose of the site was not to facilitate unlawful drug use but rather to reduce the harm of drug use, administer medical care, encourage drug treatment, and connect participants with social services. The Department of Justice has indicated its plans to appeal the case. Read the decision here.
View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – November 15, 2019.