Residents in King County, the most populous county in Washington State where politics is dominated by liberal Democrats, have launched a petition drive to prevent creation of so-called “safe injection sites” pushed by County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.
Safe King County wants to stop this proposal in its tracks with Initiative 27.
The goal is to gather more than 47,443 signatures by July 31. According to MyNorthwest.com, proponents of the effort have already gathered nearly half of the necessary signatures to put the issue on the ballot in King County this November.
Murray and Constantine support the idea of “safe injection sites” for drug addicts, rather than have them shooting up in parks, highway overpasses or other places where they leave used hypodermic needles.
Supporters of “safe injection sites” have maintained that such sites will save lives in Seattle and King County.
However, MyNorthwest.com reported that an opponent of the safe site effort discovered that a similar effort in Vancouver, B.C. has seen drug deaths go up from 190 in 2003 to 931 in 2016.
“That’s a 490 percent increase in illicit drug deaths,” noted Joshua Freed, a member of the Bothell City Council. “Clearly the B.C. model is not working. It’s not something we should be doing here in King County.”
But self-styled “progressives” think having one site in Seattle and one in King County is a good thing.
Freed wants the money that it would cost to open and maintain a “safe injection site” to be used on other programs, such as treatment efforts. He noted that more than 600 volunteer signature gatherers are busy, and the petition may be ordered online.
Public Health officer Jeff Duchin told MyNorthwest.com that such injection sites are “public health services that provide a safe space for people who are already using drugs in public spaces.” These sites would “allow them to come indoors, under the supervision of a healthcare worker, use their drugs and have an overdose reversed if they should suffer from an overdose,” he said.
Brad Findgood, former co-chair of King County’s Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction, Task Force told MyNorthwest that somebody dies from a drug overdoes “every 36 hours in King County.”
Opponents of the sites are concerned that the county and city are simply adopting policies that will attract drug offenders to the area. Seattle is already considered a magnet for homeless people because of its policies regarding the homeless. There have been tent cities in Seattle for the past several years.
Neither the city nor the county will provide drugs. But that leads to another problem, because drug abusers will have to somehow obtain their illicit drugs. It could mean a rise in property crimes.
Safe King County says on its website that supervised drug consumption sites are not consistent with protecting the public or helping drug addicts. The group says it wants to encourage local governments to offer treatment instead of continued drug use.