Opposition of Safe Injection Sites
Submitted by: Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Committee
WHEREAS, safe injection site programs convey an implicit acceptance of harmful drug use and exacerbate an already alarming drug abuse problem; and
WHEREAS, there are currently no federal laws in the United States that explicitly authorize a Supervised Injection Facility (SIF), and that at least two sections of the federal Controlled Substances Act can be interpreted to prohibit a SIFs this would, in effect, sanction the possession and use of illegal substances in these SIFs; and
WHEREAS, asking physicians, nurses and physician assistants to supervise the injection of unknown drugs, puts medical staff in physical danger, and, absent an explicit exemption from state and federal law, puts them at risk of liability; and
WHEREAS, there is grave concern about where safe injection sites would be located and the potential harm to the community and citizens in the vicinity; and
WHEREAS, there has not been a state or federally conducted rigorous, scientific evaluation of opening a pilot SIF program to demonstrate that exemption from federal law is beneficial; and
WHEREAS, generalizing and applying the findings of SIFs from outside the United States has limited, if any, utility to analyzing potential impacts of SIFs in the United States; and
WHEREAS, establishing protocols for informed consent is a complex legal issue when evaluating SIFs, given that the subjects may be under the influence of a controlled substance; now, therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the IACP opposes safe injection site programs and is highly concerned about the health and public safety risks to citizens, the community, and healthcare staff associated with SIFs, absent greater study, evaluation, and input from local law enforcement authorities; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the IACP has serious concerns that SIFs will increase drug trafficking and entice more crime, as addicts pursue cash to finance their habits, and this will result in compromised public safety while requiring additional law enforcement resources.
1 IACP Resolution NDDC.017.A11 "Opposing Safe Injection Site Programs and Legislation," Submitted by: Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs committee, Passed: October 2011.
2 Government, Politics, and Law; Peer Reviewed; Beletsky et al., American Journal of Public Health; February 2008, Vol 98, No. 2. See 21 U.S.C. § 844 (Penalties for simple possession); and 21 U.S.C. § 856 (Maintaining drug-involved premises).
3 "Three Nurses Treated with Narcan for Opioid Exposure at Massillon Hospital," by Jack Shea, Fox 8, August 10, 2017; "Deputy, Two EMS Providers Treated for Overdose Symptoms Responding to Call," The Baltimore Sun, May 23, 2017.
4 As Opioid Epidemic Rages On, Massachusetts Medical Society Backs Supervised Injection Rooms, by Martha Bebinger, April 29, 2017 (discussing potential liability to medical staff if intoxicated individual leaves SIF, operates a vehicle, and causes harm to another person in a traffic collision).
5 Safe injection sites not the best way to fight heroin addiction; Philadelphia Inquirer, June 5, 2017. Opinion and Editorial; http://philly.com/.
6 Establishment of Pilot Medically Supervised Injection Facility in Massachusetts; Report of the Task Force on Opioid Therapy and Physician Communication, April 2017 by the Massachusetts Medical Society.
7 Most of the research on SIFs has been conducted on two sites in Canada and Australia. Ibid. p. 4.
8 Ibid p. 4.