Lawsuit to block injection site vote opens perilous political ground

Proponents of “safe injection sites” for drug addicts in King County, Washington have sued to prevent a public vote on such sites. (Screen capture, YouTube)

A lawsuit to block a public vote on so-called “safe injection sites” for drug addicts in Washington’s King County could be opening up perilous political ground because opponents of that vote are claiming that “public policy is not subject to an up or down vote by citizen initiative,” according to the Seattle P-I.com.

Would the proponents of “safe injection sites” say the same thing about an initiative allowing a vote that directly impacts a constitutionally-protected civil right? That’s what critics said three years ago about Initiative 594, the gun control measure passed by the public in 2014 that expanded the state pistol registry and created other problems for law-abiding gun owners.

“Protect Public Health” is behind the lawsuit. As the SeattleP-I.com put it, this is a new organization whose spokesperson, Dr. Bob Woods, claims the public vote would “set a dangerous precedent for public health.”

Woods, former director of the HIV/AIDS program at Seattle-King County Public Health, claims that “Supervised consumption spaces are an essential tool in fighting the opiate epidemic.” He further asserted, according to the P-I.com, that if Initiative 27 is successful, it “would set a dangerous precedent for public health: Supervised consumption spaces are an essential tool in fighting the opiate epidemic.”

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Where was Woods when gun owners were arguing that I-594 would also set a dangerous precedent in the ongoing battle to protect the right to keep and bear arms, protected by the Second Amendment and by a majority of state constitutions?

The King County Council is reportedly playing a delay game to stall a public vote until next year. They are apparently cognizant of the overwhelming public opposition to such injection sites, championed by a pair of KVI-AM conservative hosts, John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur.

Bill Bryant, former gubernatorial candidate who was reportedly not allowed to testify before the county council on Monday, told a reporter, “The lawsuit claiming the public has no voice over their own community’s health policy will further alienate people…Our community needs to have a conversation about the effectiveness of safe injection sites. The people want this conversation and want a voice in the decision-making.”

There is no civil right to use illegal narcotics or enjoy government-funded protection while doing so. There is a civil right, delineated in the constitution, to keep and bear arms, and this right “shall not be infringed.”

The story said Protect Public Health filed its lawsuit in King County Superior Court. The group contends that “health professionals know best,” the report said. In that same vein, gun owners should know best about buying, selling, loaning and trading firearms.

What Woods and his group are arguing goes against the grains of a Democratic Republic; the people’s right to have a say. Several cities in King County have already turned thumbs down on having a “safe injection site” in their communities. A county-wide vote seems almost certain to reject the idea decisively.

Civil rights should never be subject to a public vote, but using public funds to essentially enable drug abusers to feed their addictions is a question that belongs on a ballot.



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