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Philadelphia City Council recommends blanket ban on supervised injection sites

City council votes to ban safe injection sites in some Philadelphia districts
City council votes to ban safe injection sites in some Philadelphia districts 00:31

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia City Council on Thursday passed legislation that would ban supervised injection sites in some districts in the city and recommended a blanket ban citywide. The vote was nearly unanimous at 13-1, with Councilmember Kendra Brooks (At-Large) objecting.

The bill now heads to Mayor Jim Kenney's desk for final approval.

Kenney has previously voiced his support for the medically supervised facilities.

If Kenney vetoes the legislation, city council can override it with a two-thirds vote, according to its website.

Democratic mayoral nominee Cherelle Parker claimed in a statement that city council's vote is a "victory for all Philadelphians."

"I stand with the members of City Council who made their constituents' voices heard loud and clear: Drug consumption sites are not the answer to this crisis," Parker said. "This is just the first step. If the people choose me as their next mayor in the November election, I will look forward to convening state, federal and local partners to address this crisis."

Parker said she would approach the opioid epidemic in the city with a "ground-up approach." Her statement claimed she would focus on "providing long-term housing, treatment, and recovery for those who struggle with addiction, homelessness, and/or mental and behavioral health issues."

In a statement, Brooks said, "In the midst of an overdose crisis that is destroying families and communities, we should not be banning a tool that could save lives. We should make decisions based on evidence-based public health research, tools that have been proven to be effective, and lived experience."

Supporters, who have been trying to get sites open in the city for years, say the overdose prevention sites would improve public safety because drug users are monitored by health care professionals.

Opponents question whether the sites would be effective in fighting the drug crisis.

Safehouse attempted to open a safe-injection site in South Philadelphia in 2020, but plans were delayed. In the years since, the nonprofit has been caught up in litigation over its efforts.

In May, Pennsylvania's state Senate approved a bill that would ban safe-injection sites.

New York City became the first U.S. city to open such a government-authorized site, OnPoint NYC, in 2021.

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