There are exactly zero "safe injection sites" in legal operation in the United States right now, and it should stay that way.

Recently, a Massachusetts commission recommended the state create sites where intravenous drug users can inject narcotics under the supervision of medical personnel. The motivation for the sites comes from a decent place. The idea is to prevent people currently addicted to drugs from overdosing alone and dying before they can get medical attention.

The biggest problem with this idea is that it isn't going to happen and it is a waste of time to focus on it. People are dying and it isn't safe to focus attention and resources on an idea that isn't going to actually save people currently suffering from drug addiction.

Most people are willing to treat drug addiction as a medical condition and act accordingly. However, those people can't be expected to change their values and culture to accommodate people actively breaking the law with their drug use.

Opposition to these safe injection sites is enormous. In fact, the idea is so bizarre to most people they don't even take it seriously. When they do start to take it as a serious idea, the opposition will only grow.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is opposed to these sites.

Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling issued a statement slamming the door on this idea last year.

“'Supervised injection facilities' would violate federal laws prohibiting the use of illicit drugs and the operation of sites where illicit drugs are used and distributed. Employees and users of such a site would be exposed to federal criminal charges regardless of any state law or study.  

I cannot envision any scenario in which sites that normalize intravenous use of heroin and fentanyl would be off-limits to federal law enforcement efforts."

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts is already looking the other way on the recreational sale and use of marijuana, but he won't and he shouldn't look the other way these sites.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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