Ithaca Joins With Major U.S. Cities In Court Fight Over Supervised Injection Sites

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ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick joined officials from four major cities in a friend-of-the-court brief last week. It supports a federal case brought by a Philadelphia organization seeking the right to open a supervised injection facility. 

Supervised injection facilities are places where opioid users can inject their own drugs, while monitored by trained medical personnel.  Myrick has proposed one be established in Ithaca.

DARRYL DYCK/ASSOCIATED PRESS

A registered nurse holds a tray of supplies to be used by a drug addict at the safe-injection clinic in Vancouver, B.C., operating since 2003.

The U.S. Department of Justice opposes the facilities, claiming they violate federal drug laws and enable drug use. John Barry, who runds the Southern Tier AIDS Program, disagrees with that characterization.

“This is a public health intervention.” He said, “This is a life saving intervention. This is an intervention that steers people into medical treatment and to substance use treatment.”

If a legal pathway is cleared, Barry’s organization wants to run the Ithaca facility.  Such sites are already legal in Canada and some European countries.

Earlier this year, Binghamton-area state Senator Fred Akshar introduced a bill to ban supervised injection sites in New York State. Gained an Assembly sponsor but did not get a floor vote.