The Pennsylvania Senate enacted the restriction after a court challenge involving Philadelphia’s safe injection facilities. It’s debatable whether or not drug users should have access to “safe havens” where they can inject heroin and other drugs in a controlled setting. All Senate Republicans voted in favor of the plan, and only nine of the chamber’s twenty-two Democrats voiced opposition.
Senator Christine Tartaglione, the bill’s sponsor and a Democrat from Philadelphia, supports harm-reduction initiatives, such as needle exchanges and mobile methadone facilities, but not programmes she believes encourage addiction without a recovery path. Philadelphia Democrat Senator Nikil Saval stated that the ban is unjustified because the sites are clean, well-managed, and save lives by lessening the workload of emergency services and law enforcement.
Governor Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, opposes safe injection sites. The issue divided the Democratic Party, making it improbable that the proposal will advance through the Democrat-controlled state House of Representatives.
In 2021, the US Department of Justice won a lawsuit in Philadelphia’s 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals to prevent the opening of a supervised injection site in the city. The court ruled that the operation would contravene an anti-drug law enacted during the 1980s aimed at “crackhouses.” The case was not accepted by the Supreme Court, following which the Justice Department declared it is “evaluating” such centres and conversing with regulators about “appropriate guardrails.”
Two states, Rhode Island and New York City, have authorised the use of safe injection sites, while the governors of California and Vermont both vetoed bills calling for their opening last summer.