Seattle could open housing for homeless where it’s OK to use heroin

Seattle could open housing for homeless where it’s OK to use heroin

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.

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