King County Health Board clears way for safe injection sites

KING 5's Chris Daniels reports.

SEATTLE – The King County Board of Health voted 12-0 on a resolution Thursday, approving a recommendation for two safe injection sites.

It follows the heroin and opioid task force recommendation to open a pair of sites, which would allow people to use with medical supervision.  Critics have said that the idea enables heroin users.

But proponents, like Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez, who sits on the health board, argue that it's a tool to reduce the number of deaths.  In 2015, the county says 229 people died from heroin and prescription opioid abuse.

The vote clears the way for King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray to figure out where and when sites will be established.

Vancouver, British Columbia has had a safe injection site for years, and also has a serious heroin problem.  The B.C. Coroners Service announced Wednesday 914 people died in 2016 from heroin and opioid abuse, an all-time high.

Copyright 2016 KING


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