Fiedler, Harris and Donatucci call for halt to safe injection site until more community input is received

HARRISBURG, Feb. 26 – State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila; Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., House Democratic whip; and Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, issued the following statement on the prospective opening of a safe injection site in South Philadelphia:

“First and foremost, let us be clear that the opioid epidemic is a public health crisis that demands our attention. Opioid and fentanyl-related deaths have skyrocketed in Philadelphia and our city has the unfortunate distinction of having one of the highest overdose death rates in the nation. That’s why we’ve unequivocally supported legislation aimed at combating this crisis and worked with Governor Tom Wolf to increase funding for treatment and recovery.

“With that said, we have serious concerns about the lack of community involvement in this process. Already this morning, our offices have received numerous calls from constituents who were blindsided by this announcement. They have valid questions and concerns and they deserve the chance to discuss them.

“The proposal to open the facility next week, while holding a public meeting to discuss the facility the week following its opening, is misguided and leading to anxiety and trepidation for people that live near the site in South Philadelphia. For that reason, we’re asking Safehouse to reconsider their timeline and hold a public meeting prior to opening their facility to get public input and explain the process of harm reduction to the entire community.”