ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL SUPPORTS STATES’ EFFORTS TO ENACT PUBLIC HEALTH POLICIES THAT PREVENT OPIOID OVERDOSES
Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined a coalition of 10 attorneys general in supporting the ability of states to enact public health policies that can prevent opioid overdoses and save lives.
In an amicus brief filed in United States v. Safehouse before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, Raoul and the coalition oppose the federal government’s effort to stop Safehouse, a Pennsylvania nonprofit, from operating a life-saving safe injection site intended to prevent opioid overdose deaths. Raoul and the coalition argue that it crucial for states to maintain authority to enact public health solutions that serve the best interests of their residents.
“Opioid addiction has devastated lives, families and communities throughout Illinois and across the country,” Raoul said. “States, including Illinois, are entitled to enact public health policies to protect their residents and help fight the opioid epidemic and must be able to act in ways they believe best serve their residents. I will work to ensure states can continue to provide life-saving healthcare solutions to residents.”
Safehouse is a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that plans to operate a medically supervised safe injection site. This medical supervision saves lives because death can occur within minutes of using heroin or fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic opioid—sometimes too quickly for emergency responders to arrive on the scene.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 128 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose. Opioid deaths have been on the rise in the United States since 1999, based largely on the proliferation of opioid prescriptions. The death toll now totals nearly 450,000.
In the brief, Raoul and the coalition argue that states have the legal right to regulate the practice of medicine that would allow medical interventions like safe injection sites because:
Raoul urges anyone who believes they or a loved one may be addicted to opioids to seek help by calling the Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances at 833-2FINDHELP, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Joining Raoul in the amicus brief are the attorneys general of California, Delaware, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, and Virginia.