OLYMPIA, Wash. – While public health and elected officials in King County want to open drug injection sites, the move to ban them created an emotional debate at the state capitol Monday.
Sen. Mark Miloscia, R-Federal Way, is sponsoring a bill to prohibit the so-called “safe” injection sites.
“They’re sites that promote and de-stigmatize drug use,” said Miloscia, who prefers funding more resources for users looking to quit.
His bill had its first public hearing Monday, and reviews were mixed.
“These site will be devastating, they will cause crime,” said recovering addict Kendrick Williams, who said the sites would encourage drug use.
But Michael Roberts thinks a supervised injection site might have saved his daughter’s life. Amber Roberts was 19 when she overdosed on heroin in 2015. Her father told Senators Monday an injection site might encourage users to get help.
“Maybe they will feel more comfortable asking for help, as opposed to feeling shame,” said Roberts.
But Miloscia disagrees.
“Shame works,” he said after the hearing.
Miloscia visited an injection clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia, and said it’s not working.
“We should be telling all of our children, ‘Don’t take heroin. It’s wrong!’” Miloscia said.