Sunday, September 2, 2018

The DOJ argues against harm reduction measures for drug addicts

In an opinion piece in the NY Times, Rod Rosenstein,  the deputy attorney general of the United States, comes out against harm reduction measures for drug addiction, such as those being considered in several U.S. cities and States.  He argues that increased prosecution is the way to go, and threatens to go after cities that institute "safe injection sites."

Fight Drug Abuse, Don’t Subsidize It
Americans struggling with addiction need treatment and reduced access to deadly drugs. They do not need a taxpayer-sponsored haven to shoot up.

By Rod J. Rosenstein

"Last year, San Francisco assembled a task force to establish an injection site, and last week the California State Senate passed a bill that would allow San Francisco to operate such sites and grant legal immunity to the drug users who visit them. In May, the mayor of New York City announced a plan to open four injection sites. A Seattle task force approved a similar plan, and city officials have pitched outfitting a van as a mobile injection site. Numerous states, including Colorado, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine, have explored similar options to help their residents use hard-core drugs.

"One obvious problem with injection sites is that they are illegal. It is a federal felony to maintain any location for the purpose of facilitating illicit drug use. Violations are punishable by up to 20 years in prison, hefty fines and forfeiture of the property used in the criminal activity. The law also authorizes the federal government to obtain civil injunctions against violators. Because federal law clearly prohibits injection sites, cities and counties should expect the Department of Justice to meet the opening of any injection site with swift and aggressive action.
"To end the drug crisis, we should educate everyone about the dangers of opioid drugs, help drug users get treatment and aggressively prosecute criminals who supply the deadly poison. Under the leadership of President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice is delivering results. Many federal, state and local agencies are working with us to combat opioid addiction. Cities and counties should join us and fight drug abuse, not subsidize it."

Here are my other posts on harm reduction.

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