Action Alert
Urge King County to follow the Opiate Task Force Recommendations
Support a scientific approach to fighting overdoses and addiction
The opiate epidemic in King County is growing, and current strategies are not working. The King County Opiate Addiction Task Force has recommended a new comprehensive strategy to fight this crisis, including the opening of two pilot safe consumption spaces. In these facilities, healthcare professionals can prevent overdose deaths, reduce the spread of diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C, and efficiently refer people struggling with addiction to treatment. Tell the King County Council to support this safe, effective, and scientifically proven method of responding to the opiate epidemic.

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Message Recipients:
Pete von Reichbauer, King County Council Member
Rod Dembowski, King County Council Member
Reagan Dunn , King County Council Member
Dave Upthegrove, King County Councilmember
Kathy Lambert, King County Council Member
Joe McDermott, King County Council Member
Claudia Balducci, King County Councilmember
Jeanne Kohl-Welles, King County Council Member
Larry Gossett, King County Council Member
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RE: Fund Safe Consumption Sites - Implement Opiate Addiction Task Force Recommendations
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I urge you to implement the King County Opiate Addiction Task Force recommendations - including opening two pilot safe consumption sites. The county faces an opioid epidemic. Since 2012, over 1,000 people have died from opioid overdoses. The task force recommended a comprehensive strategy that focuses on prevention and providing treatment on demand. One part of this strategy is to reach out to people struggling with addiction, who are not willing to enter treatment voluntarily, via facilities like safe consumption sites (SCS).

SCS are clean spaces where people can legally use previously obtained drugs under the supervision of healthcare professionals who provide overdose prevention, safe and sterile equipment, support and referrals to medical, mental health, rehabilitation and social services. These programs have been operating around the world for decades and have successfully prevented overdose deaths and the transmission of disease, and have linked people to treatment. The science clearly shows they work, and our region's public health experts fully endorse this approach.

Please resist efforts to stop SCS in King County. The task force was clear that the two pilot sites should go where they are needed and where the local community is supportive. It's also important to remember that the SCS pilots are a very minor investment and don't take resources away from treatment or prevention. King County will spend $226 million on addiction services in the 2017-2018 biennium - only $2 million is for SCS - less than 1%. The vast majority of the funding goes to treatment - over 70%.

During the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the late 1980s, King County emerged as a leader in adopting harm reduction strategies such as needle exchanges. The same arguments made today against SCS were made then against needle exchanges. Thankfully, the county listened to public health experts and King County now has one of the most successful HIV/AIDS programs in the world.
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The King County Council has been a leader on drug policy for decades. Don't allow fearmongering to stop the opening of the two pilot SCS. Please listen to the advice of public health experts and implement the opiate task force recommendations.
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