STAP Pleased After Judge Rules Proposed Supervised Injection Sites Do Not Violate Federal Drug Laws

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ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – Advocates of supervised injection sites in New York got some encouraging news this week. A federal judge ruled against the Department of Justice by deciding that a Philadelphia non-profit’s plan for one does not violate federal drug laws, specifically a part of the Controlled Substances Act often called the “crackhouse statute.”

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. (DARRYL DYCK/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

John Barry is director of the Southern Tier AIDS Program. The organization wants to open a research pilot site in Ithaca

We are happy to hear that this idea, at least in this one judge and one court opinion does not fall under the 1986, and I’ll put this in quotes, crack house statutes,” he said.

He said the ruling shows the judge understood the intent of the sites is to prevent overdoses not promote drug abuse.

“For a long time people have had a misunderstanding about what harm reduction services are,” he said, “why we’re doing what we’re doing. And I think it’s pretty clear now that we’re getting people into treatment. We’re getting people into medical care. We’re helping people into recovery.”

The Justice Department prosecutors said they will appeal the Philadelphia decision.