The easiest answers to the hardest questions surrounding the creation of a safe consumption site in Seattle will be on the table as a City Council committee hears updates on how much space is needed and how much it will cost to acquire or lease a property for the facility hoped to help stem the tide of opiate-related overdoses.
Where to locate it? That’s not on the board — yet.
Teresa Mosqueda’s Housing, Health, Energy, and Workers’ Rights Committee is slated for a Thursday morning briefing on the Safe Consumption Site Feasibility Study at the center of $1.3 million in city funding to help get a site running in Seattle.
Officials now know how much space and what features the facility will need (PDF) — “2,000 square feet, with space for approximately 10 consumption stations, offices for the facility manager, clinical providers and social workers, needle exchange, reception, waiting rooms, restrooms storage and utility space.”
Much of Thursday’s discussion will be around how much it would cost to establish that space in Seattle’s booming real estate market under various scenarios:
With $1.3 million earmarked from Seattle to help start the facility, the project faces a significant funding gap under the scenarios to be presented Thursday. SCC Insight reports that Public Health of Seattle-King County will share responsibility for site selection with the city — and will also have to pony up a lot of funding to help close the budget gap. Included in the annual costs for each proposal is $300,000 in “neighborhood mitigation” including “emphasis patrols, garbage sweeps and other ancillary costs.”
Safe consumption sites are facilities where people addicted to drugs can consume substances indoors with trained medical staff on hand to prevent fatal overdoses, reduce the spread of disease from dirty needles, and connect addicts to drug treatment services.
The Seattle site is planned to provide “hygienic space and sterile supplies,” overdose treatment and prevention, as well as “syringe exchange services” and “post-consumption observation space.” Capitol Hill has been discussed as a possible home for a Seattle site and organizations including the Capitol Hill Community Council have voiced support for the facilities.
You can review the presentation from Thursday’s committee meeting here (PDF).
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