John Fetterman, lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania and a Democratic Senate candidate, has voiced his support for safe injection facilities and other drug legalization ideas on many occasions.
Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle are just some places that have created “safe” injection sites to combat the rising number of drug overdose deaths in the last decade. According to the CDC, in 2020, there were almost 92,000 drug overdose fatalities in the United States, an increase from roughly 71,000 in 2019.
However, there is no conclusive proof that injecting facilities effectively deter drug abuse. Senior fellow at the Hudson Institute David Murray concluded from an examination of a single study that “participation in facility services did not reduce either the number of injections or the number of overdose events over time,” suggesting that such locations “may actually lessen the incentive for participants to enter treatment and recovery.“
Despite being in a heated Senate contest against Republican opponent and famous cardiologist Dr. Mehmet Oz, Fetterman has a long history of supporting safe injection sites.
While discussing the opioid epidemic in a podcast conversation with Aaron Watson in 2018, Fetterman stressed the need for society to address the problem head-on. “I think it’s important that we as a society have all the options on the table — including needle exchange, which is only technically legal in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh — and even safe injection sites that are being considered.”
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who is supported by left-wing billionaire George Soros, tweeted in 2020 that “harm reduction strategies like overdose prevention sites” have “no negative impact on drug use or crime” while providing a “positive impact on quality of life for residents.” Fetterman responded by saying, “harm reduction, reduces harm.“
Growing research suggests harm reduction strategies like overdose prevention sites — besides saving many lives — have no negative impact on drug use or crime where sites are located. Rather, they have a positive impact on quality of life for residents:https://t.co/p084Beq4D9
— Philadelphia DAO (@philadao) February 13, 2020
The legalization of hard drugs is an issue that has been supported by several Democratic legislators. For instance, in 2020, voters in Oregon approved a ballot proposition that would have done away with criminal sanctions for heroin, coke, and meth possession.
In an interview with The Nation in 2015, Fetterman stated, “I’m pro legalizing marijuana, but I go even further than some of my colleagues because I’m for decriminalizing across the board. I see it as a public health issue, not a criminal issue. I’ve seen first hand for the last 14 years the effects it has on families.”
Gisele Barreto Fetterman, a nonprofit executive who has been engaged in her husband’s campaign, has also stated that she would “enthusiastically” welcome injection facilities in her “backyard” in the year 2020.
“Collective fear will only ensure we continue down this path. Shouldn’t the preservation of human life override all else? If we as a society are truly committed to saving lives, shouldn’t we try all our options?” she argued. “This isn’t an outrageous idea. No overdose deaths have been reported at any of the more than 120 supervised consumption sites worldwide.”
Health and Human Services, under President Joe Biden’s administration, planned to introduce a $30 million grant program early this year to pursue a similarly aggressive stance against drug enforcement.