DOJ to challenge safe injection sites in NYC and beyond

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- The plan for four safe injection sites, where drug users can shoot up under the care of medical personnel, may be in jeopardy.

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein declared for the first time Wednesday that the Justice Department would meet the opening of safe injection sites with swift and aggressive action.

He said the locations undermine a deterrent message and might lead to additional addiction.

The sentiment was met with skepticism outside Vocal, a needle exchange site off Fourth Avenue near Atlantic Terminal, which is primed to become one of four overdose prevention centers in New York.

“I would argue that safe injection sites actually make a neighborhood safer,” said Alyssa Aguilera, of VOCAL. “That way you do not have people doing it in public parks, public bathrooms, alleyways, because that’s where they’re doing it now.”

New York City is currently doing a review for opening any sites and hearing neighborhood concerns. However, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he is undeterred by the DOJ.

“We have heard this for the first time,” the mayor said. “We are going to have to assess what it means, but as a matter of policy we believe the overdose prevention centers will save lives.”