Heroin addict

Progressive policies are the bane of this country.

Via Seattle Times:

The Heroin Task Force formed by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine has endorsed the creation of safe-consumption sites for addicts, which would be a first in the U.S.

A majority of the task-force members support a place or places for addicts to use heroin and other drugs besides public restrooms, alleys or homeless encampments such as The Jungle, said Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, task force co-chair. The idea is that users could visit a supervised facilitywhere they could get clean needles and anti-overdose medications as well as medical attention as needed and treatment opportunities.

The task force is working on formal recommendations expected next month, Duchin said, for what a model might look like and what legal hurdles it could face.

But such a site wouldn’t directly address homelessness among addicts. The Jungle’s population dropped by about 200 people after the mayor initiated intensive outreach efforts earlier this summer, but about 120 people remain. The vast majority have addictions, with heroin the most prominent.

Murray has proposed a dormitory-style homeless shelter modeled after San Francisco’s Navigation Center that would allow pets, partners, storage for personal belongings, and intoxicated residents — unlike some shelters — as a way to coax residents out of encampments.

The model is helpful, said Kris Nyrop of the Public Defender Association (PDA), which also supports safe-consumption sites. “But you need to allow people to use on-site, so they don’t in an alley or back in The Jungle,” said Nyrop, an outreach worker and drug-policy researcher in Seattle for two decades.

He and others suggest the solution may be near REI’s Seattle flagship store in an inconspicuous blue building known as “1811.”

They’re talking about 1811 Eastlake Avenue, which houses 75 chronic alcoholics who can drink in their rooms and avail themselves, if they choose, of treatment services on-site. A 2009 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) said it saved taxpayers $4 million a year in housing and crisis services that would’ve been incurred had the inebriates been living on the streets. It also reduced their alcohol use by about one-third. A 2012 study by University of Washington researchers also found decreased consumption by 1811 residents.

“1811 is a great model, the kind of innovative solutions we should look at,” Duchin said.

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HT: Wirecutter

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