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October Spotlight: Jose Benetiz and Ronda Goldfein
Oct 21, 2019
The Scattergood Foundation is committed to recognizing leadership in behavioral health. Each month, we will be highlighting a behavioral health champion. This October, we have chosen Jose Benitez and Ronda Goldfein, the powerhouse duo behind Safehouse.
Safehouse is a privately funded, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation with the mission of saving lives by providing a range of overdose prevention services. Jose A. Benitez, Executive Director for Prevention Point, has led crucial efforts in Philadelphia’s response to the HIV epidemic and, in recent years, the opioid crisis. Ronda B. Goldfein, Executive Director at Aids Law Project of PA, is listed among the top 100 HIV/AIDS activists in the United States by POZ magazine and voted a “Super Lawyer” by Law & Politics and Philadelphia Magazine.Benitez and Goldfein have led efforts to bring community together with health and legal experts to organize around Safehouse and a larger harm reduction strategy in Philadelphia and beyond.
On October 2, 2019, U.S. District Judge Gerald A. McHugh ruled that a supervised injection site, designed to combat the staggering death toll of overdoses by allowing people to inject drugs under medical supervision, does not violate the “crack-house” section of the Controlled Substances Act because the site would be operated not “‘for the purpose of’ unlawful drug use” but to “save lives.”
The Scattergood Foundation has been an early funder and supporter of Safehouse. We cannot thank Jose and Ronda enough for leading the charge to the nation’s first safe-injection site. Their bravery, courage, intelligence and empathy are unmatched.