Overdose prevention centers: Innovative strategy or federal law violation?





overdose prevention center, substance use disorder, opioid epidemic, harm reduction, crack house statute


Among the list of identified strategies to address substance use disorder, none is as controversial as overdose prevention centers. Also known as supervised injection sites, these centers provide clean needles, food, basic hygiene, medical care, referrals to treatment, and overdose reversal medication to people who use drugs, all in a supervised setting. Proponents of these centers argue they save lives and money, while opponents claim they perpetuate and normalize illegal drug use. Furthermore, the very existence of overdose prevention centers in cities across the United States is a blatant violation of an existing federal law, known as the “Crack House Statute.” The future of overdose prevention centers in this country is murky at best, though a decision from the Biden Administration is expected in the coming months that may offer some guidance as to whether this particular harm reduction tool will maintain the unique distinction of being both an innovative approach to tackling the opioid epidemic while at the same time violating federal law.

Author Biographies

Susan P. Weinstein, Esq.

President, Legislative Analysis and Public Policy Association, Washington, District of Columbia

Sarah Kelsey, Esq.

Chief Executive Officer, Legislative Analysis and Public Policy Association, Charlottesville, Virginia


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How to Cite

Weinstein, S. P., and S. Kelsey. “Overdose Prevention Centers: Innovative Strategy or Federal Law Violation?”. Journal of Opioid Management, vol. 19, no. 7, Oct. 2023, pp. 37-43, doi:10.5055/jom.2023.0797.