JASON RANTZ

Rantz: Seattle public health officials give tips to be a better heroin user

Jan 21, 2019, 5:51 AM | Updated: 7:59 am

opioid, Public Health...

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

We’ve reached peak absurdity when Seattle King County Public Health officials are actually teaching addicts how to be better drug users. It’s a sign that the city, county, and even the state has given up on the opioid epidemic.

Last week, North Seattle saw a rash of drug overdoses thanks to fentanyl-laced heroin and pills. While no one died, seven users were rushed to the hospital for treatment.

Rather than take this opportunity to push treatment first, the Seattle King County Health Department offered tips on how to use in a safer way.

They offered five tips in all, with the very last being a feeble attempt to suggest treatment. Before that, they suggested you do drugs with a friend or supervisor, perhaps a Seattle version of “Netflix and chill” (“Netflix and shoot up” perhaps).

King County Executive Dow Constantine claimed to Q13’s Brandi Kruse that Public Health is very active in helping addicts “get onto treatments to help wean them off opioid addiction.” He said it was a mission to get people aren’t “getting bad drugs.” Given tip number three, it would appear Constantine wants to make sure addicts are using “good” drugs:

Start low and go slow: Powders, pills and heroin may be contaminated with fentanyl that can kill rapidly. Start with a small amount and watch and wait before the next person uses.

They’re literally telling you to start with a small amount of illicit drugs and see how it goes before using heroin. How craven.

It’s ridiculous for the city or county to expect an addict — particularly ones who are homeless — to look at their silly blog for tips. But the way Public Health presents the blog is symbolic of how they treat the problem: it’s one they don’t think can be won. To not even symbolically lead with a positive — getting help — is rather telling and, frankly, amoral.

These priorities are beyond bizarre and suggest these indolent regional leaders have given up on treating addicts. It’s too hard or too expensive, to them, even as they waste tens of millions on a streetcar that will debilitate downtown traffic (by design). Statewide, Governor Jay Inslee has given up, promoting a plan to spend $1.1 billion on saving orcas, but a derisory $30 million on opioid addiction. Progressive officials may have given up, but have you?

We ought to spend more on treatment on demand, but for some reason local officials want to push policies that end up legalizing heroin because, heaven forbid, they feel like they’ve unjustly judged an addict. We wouldn’t want to do that, I guess.

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