PA: Safe Injection Sites – Legislative Update

Except from the LEGISLATIVE ANALYSIS AND PUBLIC POLICY ASSOCIATION Case Law Monitor – August 2020

United States v. Safehouse, et al., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Case No. 20-1422 (appeal filed February 27, 2020).

For a summary of the facts and previous updates on this case, please refer to the January 2020 (Volume 1, Issue 1), February 2020 (Volume 2, Issue 1), and the April 2020 issues of the LAPPA Case Law Monitor.

On July 6, 2020, the District of Columbia Attorney General filed an amicus brief on behalf of several state attorneys general, opposing the federal government’s effort to stop Safehouse, a Pennsylvania non-profit, from operating a safe injection site. In the brief, the coalition of attorneys general argue that states have the legal right to regulate the practice of medicine that would allow medical interventions like safe injection sites because:

(1) states have a well-established role in enacting public health and safety programs; and

(2) federal law does not prevent states from enacting innovative public health solutions.

Joining the District of Columbia in the amicus brief are the Attorneys General from California, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, and Virginia.

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