Yes to SCS gears up campaign for ‘Safe Consumption Space’ in Seattle

A group of the city’s rockers will be at the heart of a new campaign to promote “safe consumption space” in Seattle.

Yes to SCS announced the start of a new outreach campaign Wednesday that will include musicians and Sub Pop CEO Megan Jasper intended to “highlight the lifesaving benefit of building a safe consumption space (SCS) in the City of Seattle.”

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.

Safe consumption sites are facilities where drug users can consume substances 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. The King County Heroin and Prescription Opioid Addiction Task Force endorsed implementing such facilities in King County to address regional opioid addiction. While a controversial novelty in the United States, sanctioned safe consumption sites have operated in other countries for decades.

Yes to SCS says the new ads are designed “to raise the public’s awareness of this opportunity.”

“We’ve all lost too many friends and fellow artists to overdose,” John Roderick of The Long Winters, a participant in the campaign, said. “Wonderful people, who meant a lot to me and to the cultural life of this city, gone too soon. Every single person I’ve known who’s died from overdose was isolated and alone when it happened.”

Seattle City Council member Rob Johnson has said Capitol Hill is an ideal candidate for hosting a safe consumption site due to the positive community response to the concept and high rate of overdose in the neighborhood. Organizations including the Capitol Hill Community Council have voiced support for the facilities.

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20 thoughts on “Yes to SCS gears up campaign for ‘Safe Consumption Space’ in Seattle

  1. This should be in Rob Johnson’s District, City Hall, Harborview, or modular units under I-5, not on Capitol Hill. This type of facility works in societies that are both progressive AND enforce rules (I.e, no camping in the park next, no stealing bikes to fund your herroin addiction, no crapping on the sidewalk at the entrance to a privately owned business, no harassment of gay people, no drug dealing in front of the safe injection site). Seattle unfortunately does not have the political will to effectively manage such a facility. I think it is an outrage that Rob Johnson want to dump this in the middle of the gay community and in the middle of the highest concentration of women-owned business in the city (i.e, wild rose, sugar pill, century ballroom, Tim table, oddfellows, Linda’s, pettirosso, rachel’s Ginger brew, Montana, rivetor, northwest liquor and wines, revolution wine, optimism brewery, bar melusine, semillon bakery, bateau, chop suey, terra plata, 8 limbs, trove, rove boutique, Capitol cider, vermillion, amandine, petite galette, smith, plum).

    • How is this a gay issue? I’m a big-ole-gay and I honestly have no idea WTF you’re talking about, how this disproportionately impacts the queer community any worse than anyone else on Capitol Hill? We’re not even the majority on Capitol Hill. So what’s your point?

  2. This is insanity. Can’t wait to see the surrounding area turned into the zombie apocalypse like what happened in Vancouver.

    And still no data that this does anything to reduce the amount of overdoses or addiction. Vancouver’s numbers have only continued to go up.

  3. I still cant get past 1.3 million dollars to learn how addicts can do illegal drugs safely. If SCS sites have operated for decades elsewhere, can’t we lift and shift their learnings?

    • Because when you look into the facts you see that this does nothing to reduce Heroin use or addiction. The powers that be can’t have that.

    • I’ve not seen any data but wonder what addicts would use these sites. It seems users are comfortable injecting wherever, whenever so why would they bother to seek out a SCS.

    • I agree with Adam that these sites do nothing to reduce heroin use/addiction… fact, such sites enable this behavior. However, SCS do save lives from overdoses,, and that is a pretty powerful argument for establishing a site. But I too am concerned that the area around the site will become similar to the East End in Vancouver, and that would have a significant negative impact on our neighborhood.

    • @Bob: I’d ask for evidence, facts or studies to back up your statement that SCS “do nothing”, but I know you won’t. You never do.

      Despite the multitude of studies supporting SCS and successful operating SCS’s in Europe (verdict is still out on Canada, but when you wade through the political garbage, it appears to be trending successful), you continue to post that they do not work.

      And before you post it, the study that was performed by the Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice is almost universally recognized as not valid. The Journal itself is “…biased, not peer reviewed, and not a legitimate scientific journal. It is funded by the US Department of Justice.” (per Wikipedia, which includes references).

      You come off as a concern troll that figures drugs=bad, therefore anything involving drugs=bad and we should avoid it. It’s people like you that prevent us from trying any experimental solutions and keep us stuck in the perpetual problem we are in.

    • @FairlyObvious: your vitriol is not warranted. Did you not notice that I gave credence to the strongest argument in favor of SCS, that they save lives? But I think it is very doubtful that they actually reduce the rates of heroin addiction. Maybe you should provide some data that they in fact do this. Of all the people who use a SCS, what percentage wind up in an addiction treatment facility? Of those who do, how many achieve long-term sobriety?

    • @Bob: Isn’t saving lives justification enough to allow SCS? The savings alone in reduced emergency room visits would be enough to justify its existence. Compare to the 1811 Eastlake project, which had similar critics to yourself, and has since been deemed a success, saving Seattle $2 million a year.

      As far as not reducing drug usage or encouraging it, do you think that heroin addicts would start shooting up more if there was a safe space? If so, then you are clueless to heroin addiction, they will shoot up wherever they can, at least an SCS provides emergency services, should something go wrong, rather than being found overdosed behind a dumpster. And nobody is going to wake up one morning and say “I’ve always wanted to try heroin and the SCS is the perfect place to start!”

      I’m sorry if you don’t like my criticism, but it’s disheartening to see the anti-SCS crowd base their fears off of false facts, even in the fact of evidence and studies showing the opposite of their fears. Then these false facts gain a stranglehold and all of a sudden, a bunch of hand-wringers come out of the woodwork to block a potential solution to a massive problem we face.

      So what’s worse, my harsh criticism or people continuing to die because of your strongly held, but misguided beliefs that you cling to?

    • @FairlyObvious: I’m not so sure we disagree that much, but I am just a little more ambivalent and skeptical of SCS. Of course lives (and tax dollars, IF the cost of SCS was less than ER visits) would be saved, and this alone is justification for the site. But I would be alot more supportive IF the site was truly effective in getting addicts into treatment….maybe it would be, maybe not. And I am among many who are concerned about its negative effects on the surrounding neighborhood (see: east end of Vancouver BC). And no, addicts will not shoot up MORE if SCS existed, but they would not shoot up LESS.

      I have been supportive of 1811 Eastlake from the start. But there is a difference vs SCS….it provides safe and stable housing, which by itself might reduce drug/alcohol use, and also case management services.

    • @Bob:

      “I have been supportive of 1811 Eastlake from the start. But there is a difference vs SCS….it provides safe and stable housing, which by itself might reduce drug/alcohol use, and also case management services.”

      So if they, instead of a SCS, built a housing complex, where people could live, but also shoot up in their unit, you would support that?

    • @FairlyObvious: Yes, I would, IF the housing complex included mandatory case management and addiction services. This would result in at least some of the residents getting off heroin and recovering from their addiction. In addition to getting a safe and dry place to live, they would be allowed to shoot up as long as they were participating actively in the offered services….similar to the alcoholics at 1811 Eastlake, who can continue to drink if they choose. The only problem with this approach is that it would be very expensive, and I’m not sure the politicians and the public would be willing to fund it.

      I do not think that effective addiction help would be possible at a SCS. At best, addicts would be given a pamphlet, asked if they want rehab (to which the answer would usually be “no”), and sent out into the streets with other addicts. This approach will not reduce the rates of heroin addiction, which should be a primary goal of public policy, in addition to saving lives.

  4. The site is Vancouver has permanently blighted the neighborhood. Please send an email to Councilman Rob Johnson and the Mayor to encourage them to locate this facility in Harborview or the basement of city hall. It would be tragic if it gets dumped on a business district or residential area of Capitol Hill. I hope local businesses give them an earful.

  5. Yes. I am making the argument that it has become permanently blighted by the safe injection site. East Hastings was a depressed area prior to 2003 when the safe injection site opened. Vancouver located it there because it was the path of least resistance. Since 2003, it has gotten increasing worse in the vicinity, while the rest of the city has thrived. Other depressed areas all over the city became vibrant, while East Hastings got stuck in a timewarp because nobody wanted to invest or open a new business there. Instead it became the dumping ground where the rest of the city pushed the junkies, sex offenders and mentally ill. So in other words, yes, it became permanent blighted by the safe injection site. Capitol Hill would be insane to welcome this. The city should locate it at Harborview or in the basement of city hall, where they would have to take responsibility for it.

  6. I have been responding to, and treating heroin OD patients in Seattle for 24 years now. The “safe injection sites” are going to be a bad deal for Seattle.
    – More addicts will move into Seattle because of the tolerance displayed by our overly liberal government (I am a liberal; they are left of left).
    – Overdose deaths will increase, because of the influx of heroin addicts. The majority of heroin use (over 90% based on Vancouver’s ‘safe injection’ site history) will occur out in the streets.
    – There needs to be available treatment for addicts when they bottom-out and are ready to accept treatment. Currently, there are not enough available inpatient beds; the wait is weeks long. Don’t waste money on “safe injection site(s)” until we fund/develop enough available inpatient treatment options.
    – Heroin is illegal. The increased number of heroin addicts will lead to increased property crime in Seattle as addicts seek to fund their addiction.
    Needle exchanges are good. Naloxone availability is good. Lack of inpatient treatment beds is bad. Safe injection sites are a feel good bandage that will lead to increased numbers of heroin addicts in Seattle- with more addicts comes more overdose deaths.

    • Thank you for your “front-line” insights into why safe injection sites are a bad idea. I just hope the politicians are listening to you.