The Bucks County Commissioners voiced a united front against safe-injection sites at Wednesday’s meeting. Their opposition comes as Philadelphia grapples with a judge’s decision to allow safe-injection sites in South Philly.
Sometimes called supervised injection sites, these facilities allow people with addictions to inject drugs like heroin. The users face no risk of arrest and have access to clean needles, but critics say they present risks to communities and enable drug dealers.
Former State Rep. Paul Clymer raised the question. Clymer called the attempt in Philadelphia a “disaster.” He also said it was not beyond question for officials in the city to try again, but next time in Bucks County.
But the commissioners quickly addressed Clymer’s concerns. Chairperson Diane Ellis-Marseglia said the board is “definitely against them.”
Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo expanded on her point.
“I am not in favor of these injection sites here in Bucks County. I just think they’re a bad idea,” said DiGirolamo. “I’m a big believer in saving lives, but these safe injection sites are not the way to go.”
DiGirolamo also noted he fought to make Narcan, the overdose reversal drug, available to first responders and families of people suffering from substance abuse disorder. Former Governor Tom Corbett signed the final bill, which included DiGirolamo’s amendment, into law in 2014.
At the meeting, DiGirolamo proposed the creation of a resolution against the introduction of safe-injection sites in Bucks. Marseglia and Vice Chair Bob Harvie voiced their support.
The Board of Bucks County Commissioners will likely vote on the resolution at their next meeting on Mar. 18.
Clyer’s concerns followed dramatic tensions in Philadelphia last week.
Safehouse, a Philadelphia non-profit, attempted to open one of the sites last week at Constitution Health Plaza, according to KYW 1060. U.S. Attorney William McSwain had sued the non-profit to prevent it from opening, but the lawsuit failed.
The measure received support from Mayor Jim Kenney, former Governor Ed Rendell, and other city officials.
But the public protested at a press conference last Wednesday and Safehouse backed down. McSwain has also appealed on the lawsuit, saying the opening of the site would create chaos.
“This unnecessary chaos was on full display at Safehouse’s press conference yesterday morning,” said McSwain last Thursday. “That press conference was a dumpster fire.”