My Stance on Safe Consumption Sites

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I would like to address concerns I have heard about a conversation we had at our June 7 Housing, Health, Energy and Workers’ Rights Committee.

During a discussion on a safe consumption site, or community health engagement location (CHEL), I said people assume a safe consumption site means the government will provide the drugs on site.

At the meeting, we explained that some safe consumption site models in other cities do provide drugs on site, and it’s seen as a public safety model, because those using won’t have to turn to crime to fund their addictions.

While I said I would like to “explore this,” I meant I wanted to learn more about impacts in other cities and to understand the thinking behind that public safety model, not explore this practice as a policy Seattle would actually consider.

I want to make clear: I am not supporting this idea for Seattle.

I do support offering medically assisted treatment options such as Buprenorphine to help those who suffer from opioid addictions to get off those substances. You can read more about this on two of my blogs here:

Expanding Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Want to Improve Neighborhood Safety? Invest in Public Health

The City has been talking about a safe consumption site for two years, following recommendations from the expert Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force.

The experts have also come out in support of safe consumption sites, and studies have shown they reduce unsafe drug use behaviors, overdose rates and are known to save lives.

We heard from advocates, service providers, community members and those in recovery that safe consumption sites reduce public health risks both for users and non-users.

I support a safe consumption site with conditions as a data- supported public health response.  We will continue conversations with public health and safety experts, community leaders and neighborhood residents to decide how and where we can best site these necessary facilities.