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The Law (and Politics) of Safe Injection Facilities in the United States

American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 98, p. 231, 2008

Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2008-45

26 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2008 Last revised: 12 Mar 2012

Leo Beletsky

Northeastern University - School of Law; Northeastern University - Bouvé College of Health Sciences

Corey S. Davis

Network for Public Health Law

Evan D. Anderson

Center for Public Health Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania

Scott Burris

Center for Public Health Law Research, Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

Abstract

Supervised injection facilities (SIFs) have shown promise in reducing harms and social costs associated with injection drug use. Favorable evaluations in other countries have raised the issue of their implementation in the United States. Recognizing that laws shape health interventions targeting drug users, we analyze the legal environment for publicly authorized SIFs in the United States. States and some municipalities have the power to authorize SIFs under state law, but federal authorities could still interfere with these facilities under the Controlled Substances Act. A state- or locally authorized SIF could proceed free of legal uncertainty only if federal authorities explicitly authorized it or were persuaded not to interfere. Given legal uncertainty, and the similar experience of syringe exchange programs, we recommend a process of sustained health research, strategic advocacy, and political deliberation.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, prevention, harm reduction

Suggested Citation

Beletsky, Leo and Davis, Corey S. and Anderson, Evan D. and Burris, Scott, The Law (and Politics) of Safe Injection Facilities in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 98, p. 231, 2008; Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2008-45. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1088019

Leo Beletsky (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - School of Law; Northeastern University - Bouvé College of Health Sciences ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States
617-373-5540 (Phone)

Corey S. Davis

Network for Public Health Law ( email )

Saint Paul, MN
United States

Evan D. Anderson

Center for Public Health Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
2159000359 (Phone)

Scott C. Burris

Center for Public Health Law Research, Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
215-204-6576 (Phone)
215-204-1185 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.phlr.org

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