CHS Pics | An I-5 overpass message on safe consumption

The campaign to educate and address misunderstandings about creating safe consumption spaces in Seattle and King County is taking to the streets — and highways. Last Wednesday night, a group from Yes to SCS took its message to the Denny overpass of I-5.

Wednesday morning, another Yes to SCS effort posted a booth with volunteer health workers at the entrance to Capitol Hill Station to talk with commuters about the facilities where users can use drugs indoors with trained medical staff on hand to help prevent fatal overdoses, reduce the spread of disease from dirty needles, and connect addicts to drug treatment services. If you are interested in getting involved, the Yes to SCS group is holding a volunteer night Thursday where you can learn more.

Seattle has $1.3 million allocated in its 2018 budget for studying and starting a safe consumption site in Seattle, addressing the location and costs for the site, who will pay for it, and how it will be run. The City Council is slated to begin shaping recommendations into an implementation plan later this month.

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25 thoughts on “CHS Pics | An I-5 overpass message on safe consumption

  1. Rob Johnson and the rest of Council want to dump this on a Capitol Hill business district because they think it will be the path of least resistance. They are incorrect and will end up in court. As the site in Vancouver has demonstrated, it will create a permanent blight zone and become a magnet for the drug dealers, addicts, and crime. If the city is intent on doing this, it should be located in a spot where it does less collateral damage such at Harborview or in the basement of City Hall, where the negative impacts can’t be ignored by our elected officials.

    • I agree 100%. I have been to neighborhood in Vancouver where it is located, and it is the only area of any Canadian city where I actually felt that I was not safe.

    • Isn’t it the point for the sites to become targets of addicts? a lot of people on capitol hill are addicts, regardless of whether they pay rent here. This is where it’s happening and addicts are not going to go somewhere else to inject, especially if it’s hidden under a building downtown.

    • If Rob Johnson of SCS, then why is it not located on 45th in Wallingford or next to his house?He is a cowardly hypocrite if the first SCS is not on his block.

  2. The advocates will then point to Europe, which also has some issues around these sites, although not as bad as in Canada. In the European cities with safe injection sites, they have much stricter enforcement of existing law and order. For example, if you were camping in the park across the street from a site and stealing bikes to fund your heroin addiction, and shitting on the doorstep of an adjacent business, you would be arrested. If dealers were having gun fights to control the turf around the site, the surveillance cameras would catch them in the act, and they would be arrested. In Seattle we do not seem to have the political will to manage such a site effectively. Instead it would become a shitshow much worse than Vancouver. That is why I am against siting one on Capitol Hill.

    • I would much rather live in a compassionate culture that provides access to ways out of dangerous circumstances than one that values “will” and “law and order”.

    • embercb – I think your brand of “compassion” stinks… it allows people to live in squalor and illness because they resist being treated. We don’t turn children or senile elders out on the streets to fend for themselves when they balk or cry because they do not understand they are actually being helped, yet in the name of free will we will allow those with addictions or incapacitating mental illness to continue to suffer, even when they cannot understand that they are ill. We don’t even treat animals so poorly….

  3. I would too. My point with the comparison to Europe is that they have a different system with more rules, so the argument – SCS works fine in Europe! – Doesn’t mean it will work in “compassionate” Seattle.

  4. Funny– when it comes to guns, most progressives say “guns kill”, while gun rights advocates say “guns don’t kill people– people kill people”. But when it comes to heroin, progressives don’t say “heroin kills”….. it’s “stigma kills”.
    (and before anyone starts– no, I’m not pro guns).

  5. The City Hall basement idea sounds like a great idea to everybody except probably the addicts it’s intended for. Do you seriously think they’d go downtown use it, with more cops around? Especially since the preferred place for most addicts seems to be Capitol Hill or SoDo. Like they’d make a special trip downtown?

    For that matter, regardless of where it’s at– would they make a special trip from anywhere to the site, just to shoot up? No, they’d just use it if it was nearby. So they’d probably hang around wherever the site is, all the more.

    • Do you seriously think there aren’t addicts by city hall? Have you been to freeway park, James Street under I-5, or the downtown library?

  6. Yes, SCS would save lives. But I would be alot more supportive of the idea IF I was convinced that efforts to get addicts off heroin at the sites were actually effective at doing so, and that means spending alot of money to be sure treatment facilities were actually available, and having professional staff on hand 24/7 to facilitate the process. My guess is that about the only thing that will be done at an SCS is to hand an addict a pamphlet.

  7. Insite was located where the need for their services was greatest. Conditions in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside led to the siting of Insite there, not vice-versa.

    Seattle’s community of drug users who will benefit from SCS facilities are far more spread out. Seattle and King County approved a pilot program of two facilities. Hopefully these will eventually be available wherever there is need for them.

  8. Seattle’s and King County’s plan to address the oiate overdose epidemic includes much more than the SCS pilot program:

    Primary Prevention

    – Raise awareness of the possible side effects of opioid use, including overdose and opioid disorder.
    – Promote safe storage and disposal of medications.
    – Improve screening practices in schools and health care settings to prevent and identify opioid use.

    Treatment Expansion and Enhancement

    – Make buprenorphine more accessible and available in communities with the greatest need.
    – Develop treatment on demand for all types of substance use disorders.
    – Alleviate barriers placed upon opioid treatment programs, including the number of clients served and siting of clinics.

    User Health Services and Overdose Prevention

    – Expand distribution of naloxone to reverse the effects of heroin overdose.
    – Establish, on a pilot program basis, at least two Community Health Engagement Locations (CHEL sites) where adults with substance user disorders will have access to on-site services while safely consuming opioids or other substances under the supervision of trained health care providers.

  9. We have to get people to stop dying from overdose on our streets, but first we need to create safe, clean environments for them to inject with trained staff on hand. That’s step one. These are human beings with an addiction that is stigmatized, and creating shame around an addiction causes them to retreat further into the addiction, to feel worthless and to assume recovery is impossible.

    Like it or not, these are our neighbors, and they deserve to be treated with kindness and compassion no matter what circumstances led them here. It’s disheartening to see so many commenters abandon their humanity so readily out of fear of the unknown, but I get it… projects like this don’t always work the way they are intended, and it can be scary, but not as scary as dying alone of an overdose in a city that is too afraid to look at you, let alone lend a hand.

    That’s our challenge, as neighbors, and being good neighbors means reaching out, talking to and understanding people who struggle with addiction. I’ve lived on Capitol Hill since 2004, I’ve seen this place change drastically, and I welcome safe injection sites to our neighborhood. We probably need one in every neighborhood; this opioid epidemic isn’t going to fix itself. We need to let our neighbors know they belong, that their well-being matters to us, and that we’re working to help smooth their road to recovery. Baby steps.

    • Ghost, you come across as pretty self righteous. “Reaching out, talking” to people suffering from addiction doesn’t help them out, being compassionate towards them doesn’t help, the only thing that will help is treatment, and then sustained family and medical support. I get the concept of safe sites but IMO addicts should only be allowed access if they’re actively taking steps towards recovery; otherwise it’s just a place that enables junkies.

      Sure being compassionate may make you feel better about yourself but are you really helping them? My compassion/good will towards my addict brother has been exploited too many times and just ends up enabling him to get his next fix. What I hope to see with all of our taxpayer money is more investment in treatment centers and education classes for family members like myself and my parents so we can get training on how to best help addicts recover once their immediate treatment is over.

    • “this opioid epidemic isn’t going to fix itself. ”

      True, but safe injection sites aren’t going to fix it either. Unless such sites include intensive case management services and immediate placement in inpatient treatment programs (unlikely due to cost factors), all they will do is enable addiction and prolong the opioid epidemic.

  10. You can be compassionate and also not put your head in the sand regarding how a safe injection site in the middle of a Capitol Hill business district would play out. The argument that it will reduce the amount of needles around the neighborhood is BS. In reality it will probably encourage a migration of addicts from other cities and neighborhoods. They will use the facility 10% of the time, and rest of the time they will be shooting up on the streets and throw needles and garbage everywhere. Put it in a spot where fewer businesses and residents will be impacted. Capitol Hill should be a place for all types of people to live and feel reasonably safe, including the elderly, families, GLBTQ, people of color, and women. By welcoming to the neighborhood more “young white people experiencing a heroin addiction fueled psychotic episode and crime spree to fund their addiction”, or whatever the current PC term is, we should also recognize that other communities that live, work and visit Capitol Hill are impacted and displaced.

  11. Stigma doesn’t kill. In fact it may drive them to get the treatment they so desperately need to save their lives.
    Heroin KILLS, of that there is NO DEBATE!!!