Legalize Safe Injection Facilities in Pennsylvania To Stop the Opioid Deaths
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Pennsylvania is one of the most severely-impacted states at the center of the opioid crisis. The overdose death rate has taken an enormous toll on municipal and state resources. Until reform is brought upon the medical providers and the recovery system, the Commonwealth stands to lose over 5,000 citizens this year.
The crisis in our state is now reaching international news: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40637288
In Philadelphia County alone the death toll is expected to reach 1,200 individuals–over 3x the city’s normal homicide rate. Many of these overdose fatalities are not of Philadelphia residents but of neighboring suburban counties. Opioid and buprenorphine sales markets continue to expand outside of the densely populated regions of the Commonwealth and have spread into the most rural hinterlands. No county in Pennsylvania is immune to this crisis; just ask your local sheriff.
We have reached a point where we can no longer spend time dawdling on treatment options–we must arrest the spiraling death rate. We can do this with Safe Injection Sites where licensed Pennsylvania nurse practitioners may administer life-saving treatment to opioid abusers faster than EMS responders can attend to overdoses.
The opioid crisis is draining local law enforcement resources. Local medical examiners offices are now running short on bodybags and emergency medical personnel have become overburdened responding to overdose cases in half of Pennsylvania’s counties. This burden is now crippling response rates and services to all citizens of the Commonwealth.
Please consider legislation as soon as possible to:
– Define a safe-habor injection facility, giving it the same legal status as a medical office where opioid narcotics can be self-administered
– Define the requirements a safe-habor injection facility must meet to retain its legal protection
– Define the requirements an owner of a safe-habor injection facility must obtain before being granted designation and legal status as such
– Amend the Commonwealth Criminal Statute to legalize opioid consumption within a safe-harbor injection facility
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