Seattle will stand alone in the effort to create safe consumption sites in King County — and there’s a push to utilize existing county health facilities in the city to do it.
The most recent maneuverings in the political process around creating the sites aimed at curbing the rising tide of opiate-related overdoses has left Seattle standing alone with officials pushing for the first site to be located at an existing King County public health center in the city.
The Seattle Weekly reported on King County Public Health officials icing any movement on a safe consumption facility outside Seattle until the city has shown the concept is working. “Currently there is not implementation work going on outside the City of Seattle,” a county spokesperson told the Weekly.
Meanwhile, KOMO reports that Seattle City Council member Sally Bagshaw has asked Jeff Sakuma, the mayor’s newly hired health integration strategist, to look at three existing Public Health Clinics as potential hosts for Seattle’s first safe consumption site. None of those sites is on Capitol Hill.
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.
Seattle has put up $1.3 million toward getting a site running in the city.
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