Seattle: The home of progressive bullying, homeless encampments for days and, soon, safe spots to shoot up heroin. What a world class city we’ve become!
The Seattle Weekly reports that the city is considering setting up “safe drug sites” where heroin users can stop by and shoot-up under medical supervision.
Activists like Shilo Murphy, executive director of the People’s Harm Reduction Alliance, demand these sites. The Public Defender Association and the Capitol Hill Community Council support the idea.
According to The Weekly, “Every single member of the incoming city council (including both candidates in District 1’s too-close-to-call race) say they either support or are open to safe drug sites.”
Now, the basic reason they support the safe drug spots is because it helps eliminate the transmission of a score of diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis. Additionally, because they’re doing it in front of a medical professional, it’ll substantially cut down on overdoses, and they’ll be able to get rid of their needles instead of throwing them on the street — which, if you’ve walked through parts of Seattle, you’re likely to be dangerously close to.
This is a bad idea for a number of reasons. And we can start with the most obvious: It’s illegal.
But, moreover, heroin is never safe.
You can do it in a “safe space” all you want, but it’s an incredibly dangerous and addictive drug that can lead to the infection of the user’s heart lining, liver or kidney disease and pneumonia. Routinely shooting up in front of a nurse or doctor doesn’t make the impact of the drug any less dangerous.
Why would we normalize this kind of dangerous drug addiction? There’s no dispute in the medical community: Heroin is bad for you. So why normalize the behavior and supervise?
I often hear claims that this is compassionate because, if you don’t give them the safe space, they’ll do it on their own and spread disease or overdose.
You don’t lack compassion for opposing safe sites. Compassion doesn’t mean you give an addict space to continue to ruin his or her life. Compassion means you offer these people help; actual help — like treatment.
Seattle loves addressing problems in the most superficial and nonjudgmental of ways. The homeless problem? They’ll pretend it’s compassionate to let homeless people sleep in tents in an abandoned parking lot. Heroin addicts? Here’s a nice space to shoot up while we tell you it’s alright.
I’d argue we have a moral obligation to help addicts get off the drug, not coddle them while they’re trying desperately to find a vein to shoot up; and yes, the taxpayer should pay for the treatment.
We should enforce the law, arrest heroin dealers and throw them in jail. We should arrest heroin users and give them the medical help they need.
The only safe spaces we should fund are those that exclusively offer free addiction care. That’s actual compassion. Essentially legalizing heroin so we can avoid addressing the problem? Not so much.