Supervised injection sites aimed at cutting opioid overdoses risk wrath of DEA, prosecutors (McClatchy)

A handful of cities could soon face a legal showdown with the Trump administration over their efforts to open “supervised injection facilities” where drug addicts can shoot up with powerful illegal drugs while trained personnel stand by to prevent fatal overdoses.

In an effort to stem its growing opioid death rate, San Francisco is slated to open the nation’s first two publicly authorized injection facilities in July. Philadelphia and Seattle are also pursuing similar sites — even as President Donald Trump called again for the death penalty for major drug dealers Monday.

An injection site in Baltimore would prevent six overdose deaths, 21 hepatitis C infections and save the city some $7.8 million a year by eliminating 108 overdose-related ambulance calls, 78 emergency room visits and 27 hospitalizations, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

But Baltimore Health Commissioner Leana Wen said in a statement that the city’s public health agency is too dependent on federal money to pursue injection sites, despite “growing evidence,” that they reduce overdoses.

“We cannot take an action that would jeopardize our federal funding,” Wen’s statement said. “We require guidance from the Department of Justice about the legality of these sites.”

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Trump declared an emergency over opioids. A new report finds it led to very little. (Vox)

To much fanfare last year, President Donald Trump ordered his administration to declare a public health emergency over the opioid epidemic. “As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue,” Trump said at the time. “It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction.”

When I’ve asked experts about these approaches, it’s not that any of them are bad. It’s that they fall short. For instance, Leana Wen, the former health commissioner of Baltimore (and soon-to-be president of Planned Parenthood), said that the Support for Patients and Communities Act “is simply tinkering around the edges.”

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