PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is sharply criticizing last week’s City Council vote to ban safe injection sites, though he admits there’s little he can do to stop it.
Kenney’s remarks came after a groundbreaking ceremony in Kingsessing on Tuesday.
“We can’t just wall ourselves off and close our eyes to things that work. I mean, it’s ridiculous,” he said.
Kenney was an early champion of safe injection sites, where people in addiction can use drugs under medical supervision. Kenney prefers to call them “overdose prevention sites.”
“We’re trying to prevent overdoses,” he stressed. “If you want to get needles off the street and people injecting in public, put them in a place where there are medical professionals that can help with their situation.”
The effort to create a safe injection site was stopped in federal court, and with last week’s council action, it will be extremely difficult to open one now, which the mayor considers short-sighted.
He also acknowledged that a veto would fail, as the bill passed with enough votes for an override.
“Look, I’m out of here in 3 ½ months, and if council wants to continue to resist this, fine,” he added, “but you’re going to have people dying as a result of it.”