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Federal Judge Issues Final Ruling Reiterating that Proposed Philadelphia Supervised Injection Facility Does Not Violate Federal Law

Vital Strategies: “Today’s court ruling removes an important barrier for local cities to invest in safe consumption spaces, a proven, lifesaving intervention that can help address the nation’s overdose epidemic.”

A federal judge issued a final order ruling that Philadelphia-based nonprofit Safehouse’s proposal to open the country’s first supervised consumption space does not violate federal law. The judgment followed an interim October 2019 decision by the same court that ruled in Safehouse’s favor based on the pleadings in the case. Today’s ruling powerfully affirms the legality of supervised consumption spaces and paves the way for Safehouse to confidently move forward with next steps to establish a site that will prevent overdose and save lives.

Statement from Daliah Heller, who leads Vital Strategies’ Overdose Prevention Program

“Drug overdose has become the leading killer of adults age 18-50 in the United States, a crisis that requires an urgent response. Today’s final judgment from Judge McHugh empowers Philadelphia and other localities to invest in safe consumption spaces, a proven, lifesaving intervention operating in more than 120 locations in 10 countries. We commend Safehouse and the city of Philadelphia, for undertaking this effort and weathering the ensuing legal challenge. We urge more cities to follow their lead and implement this compassionate, evidence-based harm reduction strategy.”

Vital Strategies is leading an initiative to prevent overdose deaths by partnering with governments and affected communities to build tailored, science backed solutions. Vital Strategies joined an amicus brief along with other leading public health and drug policy organizations in support of Safehouse in July 2019.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible.

To find out more, please visit or Twitter @VitalStrat.

Media Contact:

Tony Newman: +1 646-335-5384