SEATTLE, WA — As the nation battles an epidemic the opiate addiction, one major U.S. city has decided that if you can’t beat them, join them.
Seattle heroin addicts will soon be able to legally shoot up heroin at supervised “safe space” facilities, complete with luxury surroundings, a full staff of medical experts on hand should the user choose to get a little too high and it’s all being paid for by, you guessed it, your tax dollars.
According to Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the goal behind the project is to stop the spread of highly communicable diseases that tend to accompany heroin use, such as the HIV, which can be transmitted through the use of dirty needles.
A 40-member task force developed last year by the order of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine is in charge of the project, which supporters of say will help to save lives, but not all Washingtonians are in favor of the so called “shoot up suites” (http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/seattle-could-be-first-city-to-give-heroin-users-safe-spaces/article/2622944).
“Toleration is not compassionate, it is a signal of defeat. We cannot give up on drug users. In the end, these sites will only distract us from getting resources into real, medically proven treatment options,” says Republican state Sen. Mark Miloscia, who proposed a bill to ban secure injection zones in Washington State.
John P. Walters, director of drug control policy in George W. Bush’s administration, echoed Miloscia’s comments in support of the bill and said the only way to stop a drug addict’s addiction to opiates is to curtail the addict’s access to the drug.
“Supporting addicts’ heroin use maintains their disease, administering the poison that causes their illness and diminishes their lives. A government-approved place for unlimited heroin injection creates the conditions for never-ending addiction and gives government a drug dealer’s power over the addicted,” Walters wrote in an op-ed. “We do not protect addicts by reviving them from overdose death only to return them to death’s front door, perpetuating the self-destructive cycle of addiction.”
The city of Vancouver, British Columbia has sponsored “safe spaces” for heroin users since 2013. Despite city officials’ claims that the shoot up suites have helped to save lives, a report from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General proves otherwise. According to data obtained from the report, drug overdose deaths have actually increased greatly since safe drug use zones were implemented (http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/death-investigation/statistical/illicit-drug.pdf).
The city of San Francisco recently announced that they too are looking into development of a similar project.