A warning by New York’s top federal prosecutor that the US Department of Justice may seek to close two supervised drug consumption sites in upper Manhattan has been condemned by activists looking for solutions to the country’s devastating opioid epidemic.
Damian Williams, the US attorney for the southern district of New York, said the centers, which allow people with substance abuse disorders to use illicit drugs, were illegal. In a statement to the New York Times, Williams said he considered the opioid epidemic a law enforcement and a public health crisis and that the centers are currently operating in violation of federal, state and local laws.
“That is unacceptable,” Williams added. “My office is prepared to exercise all options – including enforcement – if this situation does not change in short order.”
But the move drew a quick response from supporters who point out the two OnPoint NYC sites, in Harlem and Washington Heights, have reversed 1,000 overdoses in the city since they opened in 2021.