LOCAL NEWS

Two safe injection sites approved for Seattle, King County

Jan 19, 2017, 2:47 PM | Updated: 4:44 pm
safe injection sites, i-27...
(AP)
(AP)

King County health officials voted unanimously to implement a pilot program for two safe injection sites where addicts can consume illegal drugs under medical supervision.

“I’m glad we are all recognizing this is an emergency situation, and it is … this is based on best practices and research,” said Auburn Councilmember and Health Board Member Largo Wales.

“We have an emergency and we are ready to take some action,” she said.

Related: Sate Senator’s efforts to ban safe injection sites in Washington

The King County Board of Health — comprised of local elected officials — approved a plan submitted by a Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force. That plan is for two safe injection sites where addicts can consume drugs under medical supervision and without fear of consequences from law enforcement. The board will now ask Seattle-King County Public Health to start implementation of the safe injection plan.

The program was first recommended by the task force in October. The plan proposes one safe injection site in Seattle and one outside the city limits in King County.

“Every major city has said this has impacted them, too, and are looking to Seattle and King County as leaders on what to do,” said Seattle Councilmember and Health Board Member Sally Bagshaw.

The Board of Health heard from experts on the issue in the months since October. Dr. Caleb Banta-Green from the University of Washington, for example, told officials there were about seven million syringes traded in at King County needle exchanges last year – that equates to 19,000 each day.

The local proposal is partially based on the Insite program in Vancouver, B.C. It is currently the only safe injection program in North America. Seattle and King County officials visited the Canadian safe injection sites for advice on how to implement such a program locally. The hope is that the safe injection sites will reduce the presence of public drug consumption, and cut down on overdose deaths.

But as local officials consider the safe injection sites, action is being taken at the state level to ban such programs throughout Washington state. Sen. Mark Miloscia has proposed legislation that will ban such safe injection sites in Washington. He argues that they encourage drug use and are a move toward decriminalization of drugs.

Locally, however, KIRO 7 reports that King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg supports the safe injection sites.

Satterberg said at the board meeting that unlike the response to crack cocaine in the ’80s and ’90s, “I believe that the criminal justice system should not take a primary role, and that instead we should follow the lead of public health professionals.”

“I am convinced that the physical site and, more importantly, the personal connections made between users, street outreach workers and medical professionals that can lead to recovery services are a critical element to this new strategy of harm reduction and community health,” he wrote in a message to the Board of Health.

B.C.’s safe injection program and opiate crisis

As Seattle considers modeling after Vancouver’s safe injection program, British Columbia is asking its federal government to declare a national public health emergency after overdose deaths dramatically increased.

The Globe and Mail reports that overdose deaths rose to 914 during 2016. In contrast, there were 510 overdose deaths in 2015. It’s the province’s worst overdose rate in the 30 years it’s been keeping records.

In Seattle, KIRO 7 reports that the Seattle Fire Department has responded to 2,677 overdoses since 2014.

Canadian officials are blaming much of the rise on the inclusion of fentanyl, which is a synthetic opiate that can be cut into heroin. It is cheaper than heroin, yet much more potent, and can lead to overdoses. Fentanyl is suspected to be a factor in the recent surge in overdose deaths in Seattle, as well. What’s worse, is that another synthetic drug, carfentanil, has been found to have been mixed into B.C.’s heroin last fall. It is used as a large animal tranquilizer, and is cut into heroin for the same reasons as fentanyl. Though, it is even more potent.

Local News

Generic image of the vehicle in which Matteson was last seen. An image of the victim was not issued...
MyNorthwest Staff

AMBER Alert canceled for 8-year-old girl in child abduction on Aurora Ave.

Seattle Police department has issued an AMBER Alert for Kiya Matteson, last seen on Aurora Ave. N near the Bitter Lake neighborhood.
11 hours ago
72...
MyNorthwest Staff

Seattle announces plan to impound vehicles out of compliance with newly enforced 72-hour parking law

Vehicles that remain in place for more than 72 consecutive hours will now be subject to a tow, courtesy of the City of Seattle.
11 hours ago
(KIRO 7)...
KIRO 7 News Staff

35 Marysville teachers receive layoff notices after voters reject levy extensions

Thirty-five teachers in the Marysville School District received layoff notices last week, after voters rejected levy measures that would have funded 14-18% of the district’s overall budget.
1 day ago
...
Gwen Baumgardner

Car thefts are on the rise in the region

In Seattle, there have been 2,075 vehicle thefts already this year. Seattle police reported that approximately 86% of stolen cars are recovered.
2 days ago
Kirkland, WA (Getty Images)...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Tax hikes to join booming property values in East King County

Property values in select cities in East King County have skyrocketed, leading King County Assessor John Wilson to warn homeowners about noticeable increases in property taxes.
2 days ago
Pike Place...
MyNorthwest Staff

Enraged Pike Place motorist pleads not guilty to assault with a motor vehicle charges

A man arrested for an assault stemming from a Pike Place incident pleads not guilty in King County Superior Court.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Two safe injection sites approved for Seattle, King County