PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A federal judge has put a hold on his own order, which would have allowed a safe injection site to open in Philadelphia, citing the ongoing pandemic and civil unrest in his decision.
U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain requested a stay while he appeals Judge Gerald McHugh’s order to the Third Circuit appeals court. But in granting the request, McHugh dismissed McSwain’s arguments.
Instead, he said, he was granting the stay because “it is the wrong moment for another change in the status quo.”
He said Philadelphians’ nerves are “frayed by fear and uncertainty” and such a new approach to the opioid epidemic would be “disruptive.”
Ronda Goldfein of the nonprofit Safehouse said the decision reinforces the arguments in favor of a safe injection site.
“These facilities do not increase drug use and in fact, the evidence shows it improves lives for people using drugs and communities. Those are all the arguments we’ve been making for the last two years,” Goldfein said.
Goldfein said Safehouse is also aware of the challenges in Philadelphia right now and has no plans to open a site, so they look forward to arguing the case in the Third Circuit.
McSwain had no immediate comment.