Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. joined 63 current and former law enforcement leaders from across the U.S. in an amicus brief filed in United States v. Safehouse, supporting efforts to open the nation’s first Overdose Prevention Site in Philadelphia.
“Distorting federal drug laws to prohibit an Overdose Prevention Site or to prosecute its sponsors would undermine community trust in the justice system and faith in the fair and sensible application of our drug laws,” the leaders wrote in their brief to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. “Interpreting federal criminal law to bar empirically validated harm reduction measures would make no one safer; it would only impede cooperation between criminal justice agencies and the communities they serve.”
D.A. Vance is a strong supporter of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to establish Overdose Prevention Centers in two Manhattan neighborhoods to combat the city’s deadly opioid epidemic. Heroin and opioid overdoses claimed the lives of 1,441 people in New York City in 2017.
D.A. Vance also established Manhattan Hope, a diversion program for eligible individuals with multiple arrests for low-level drug possession. Participants in this free program receive substance use treatment and other necessary services in lieu of criminal prosecution.
The amicus brief is available here.