US Attorney Andrew Lelling vowed today to go after any center that lets opioid addicts shoot up under medical supervision.
Some public-health experts and doctors in the Boston area have proposed a "safe injection" site where addicts could inject drugs under medical supervision - with the idea that they could not only be assured of immediate medical attention but could be tied into treatment programs that could help them break their habits. They point to the success of a program in Vancouver, BC in reducing overdose deaths through its facility.
But the top federal law-enforcement official in Boston is saying: Forget about it:
“Supervised injection facilities” would violate federal laws prohibiting the use of illicit drugs and the operation of sites where illicit drugs are used and distributed. Employees and users of such a site would be exposed to federal criminal charges regardless of any state law or study.
I cannot envision any scenario in which sites that normalize intravenous use of heroin and fentanyl would be off limits to federal law enforcement efforts.
Providing a sanctuary to accommodate risky and lethal illegal drug use undermines all of the hard work of treatment providers and law enforcement across the Commonwealth.
The opioid epidemic requires that we remain laser-focused on prevention, treatment, and enforcement - not the normalization of intravenous use of heroin and fentanyl.