DOJ asks court for more time to resolve Safehouse lawsuit

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DOJ asks court for more time to resolve Safehouse lawsuit

The Department of Justice DOJ is asking more time to reach federal court over a lawsuit about the legality of safe drug consumption sites, according to Marijuana Moment. The non-profit Safehouse filed a complaint asking the court to protect its proposed consumption center against the crackhouse statute, which condemns any location with the purpose of manufacturing, distributing or using any controlled substance. The complaint came after a three-judge panel ruled that Safehouse would be in violation of federal law.

Safehouse has been in constant communication with the DOJ to open a space where people can inject illegal opioids under medical supervision. There has been several delays in the case, because the contact between the two parties seems not to have been productive.

The non-profit is not consenting to the last delay request from the DOJ and plans to file a motion against it on Tuesday.

The DOJ said in a motion on Monday that it believes an additional two months are necessary to allow careful consideration of the government's harm reduction and public safety goals. The discussions to date, which involved coordination among multiple constituencies addressing a novel and complex subject matter, have been productive, it said, adding that DOJ had a meeting with Safehouse lawyers in November and provided an update to the court.

On Monday, Safehouse emailed its backers saying they believed that they were making progress when DOJ announced in February 2021 that they were evaluating their policy toward supervised consumption services and talking to state and local regulators about appropriate guardrails that could allow Safehouse and similar public health initiatives nationwide to offer such services without fear of federal criminal and civil enforcement. Safehouse did not consent to today s DOJ request for more time and will be filing a motion in opposition tomorrow morning, the non-profit wrote. We're long overdue for a timeline as to when DOJ evaluations will be complete so that a life-saving initiative can begin. The organization highlighted the importance of this site and the urgency of having a final resolution, by acknowledging that every day in Philadelphia three to four people die of an overdose. Last year's 1,276 fatal overdoses represented a record high in the city, and the deaths of more than 100,000 people nationwide were caused by overdoses. In the meantime, the National Institute on Drug Abuse NIDA Director Nora Volkow said safe consumption sites have proven useful in saving patients from overdosing.

She said at the STAT Summit that it is preventing people from dying. We need to look at it as a solution in context. The question of allowing safe drug consumption sites in The City of Brotherly Love is being delayed, but a year ago New York City became the first to open two overdose prevention centers OPC These two centers managed to save 125 lives in just two months, according to a study by the American Medical Association AMA. It also reported that about 2062 overdose facilities in NYC in 2020, and its analogs accounted for 77% of deaths.

Safe consumption sites are serving their purpose of saving lives, according to the report. OPC helped reduce overdose risk and the prevalence of public drug use, according to the data.