Action Alert
Support safe consumption sites: prevent overdoses and save lives
Take action to fight addiction, stop overdoses, and save lives in Seattle
The opiate epidemic in Seattle is growing, and current strategies are not working to save lives and end addiction. The Seattle and King County Addiction Opiate Task Force has recommended a comprehensive strategy to fight this public health crisis, including the opening of two pilot safe consumption sites. 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 Seattle City Council to support this safe, effective, and scientifically proven method of managing the opioid epidemic.

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Message Recipients:
Tim Burgess, Mayor
Kirsten Harris-Talley, Seattle City Council member
Sally Bagshaw, Seattle City Council member
Lorena Gonzalez, Seattle City Council member
Rob Johnson, Seattle City Council member
Bruce Harrell, Seattle City Council member
Lisa Herbold, Seattle City Council member
Mike O'Brien, Seattle City Council member
Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council member
Debora Juarez, Seattle City Council member
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RE: Fund Safe Consumption Sites in the 2018 Budget - Implement Opiate Addiction Task Force Recommendations
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I urge you to fund safe consumption sites (aka - community health engagement locations) and implement the city and county's Opiate Addiction Task Force recommendations. Please provide funding for this critical public health intervention in the 2018 Budget for the Human Services Department.

Seattle and King County are facing an opioid epidemic. Since 2012, over 1,000 people have died from opioid overdoses in the region. 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 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 across Australia, Canada, and Europe for decades and have successfully prevented overdose deaths, the transmission of disease, and have linked people to treatment. The evidence clearly shows they work, and our region's public health experts fully endorse this approach.

Funding for SCS in Seattle will help push back against efforts to stop these sites. As the King County Superior Court ruled on October 16, public health emergencies should not be decided by politicized ballot initiatives. The opiate 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 cost-effective investment and don't take resources away from treatment or prevention. We must invest in outreach strategies to engage people who are not yet ready for treatment. This is what SCS are designed to do - connect with people, keep them healthy, and prevent them from dying.

During the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the late 1980s, Seattle and King County emerged as leaders in adopting harm reduction strategies such as needle exchanges. The same arguments made today against SCS were made then against needle exchanges. Thankfully, the city and county elected officials listened to public health experts, and Public Health - Seattle & King County now have one of the most successful HIV/AIDS programs in the world.

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Seattle has been a leader on drug policy for decades. Don't allow fearmongering based on anti-scientific rhetoric stop the opening of the two pilot SCS. Listen to the public health experts and fund safe consumption sites in the 2018 Budget for the Human Services Department.
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