John Fetterman, the Pennsylvania Lt. Governor and a Democratic Senate nominee, has repeatedly stated his openness to the use of controlled injection sites and many other policies concerning drug decriminalization.
As the number of drug overdoses has been on the rise for the past few years, quite a few different cities — such as Philadelphia, San Francisco, New York City, and Seattle — have set up various locations for people to use illegal drugs in a more supervised environment that will see to decreasing the total number of overdose deaths. Almost 92,000 Americans died via drug-induced overdoses throughout 2020, as reported by a dataset from the National Institutes of Health, showing a marked increase from the almost 71,000 deaths in 2019.
However, the evidence does not actually support the idea that the use of injection sites discourages drug use overall. In the analysis of one particular study, David Murray, a senior fellow at Hudson Institute, highlighted that “participation in facility services did not reduce either the number of injections, nor the number of overdose events, over time,” seemingly implying that the sites “may actually lessen the incentive for participants to enter treatment and recovery.”
Fetterman, who is slated to run against celebrity cardiologist and Republican rival Dr. Mehmet Oz in one of the most watched and heated Senate seat races in the country, nevertheless has a long history of standing in support of injection sites.
“I think it’s important that we as a society get in front of it,” stated Fetterman about the drug crisis back in a podcast interview from 2018 with host Aaron Watson. “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.”
Seemingly in response to a social media post from the office of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner in 2020 — who has secured the backing of extreme leftist billionaire George Soros –, he argued 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 claimed that “harm reduction, reduces harm.”
Quite a few Democratic lawmakers have similarly pushed for the outright decriminalization of hard drugs. Voters for the state of Oregon, as an example, officially approved a ballot initiative back in 2020 that removed the harsh criminal penalties for the possession of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine.
“I’m pro legalizing marijuana, but I go even further than some of my colleagues because I’m for decriminalizing across the board,” Fetterman affirmed as part of a 2015 interview with The Nation. “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 quite active in her husband’s campaign, also stated in 2020 that she would “enthusiastically” welcome injection sites in her “backyard.”
“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.”