Mixed reaction to new bill that could force heroin, opioid users into treatment

One state senator is proposing that heroin addicts could be forced into treatment.

GRAHAM, Wash. - A new bill proposes forcing some heroin and opioid users into treatment.

Joe Stackman of Graham supports the bill because of what he witnessed in his own home.

He said he had to do CPR on his 20-year-old son a few months ago.

"The heroin he got his hands on that time happened to be laced with Fentanyl. He went into immediate, full cardiac arrest," said Stackman. "The EMTs used Narcan on him and brought him back."

About six weeks ago, his son's best friend was in need of help.

"I begin CPR on him," said Stackman, as he fought back tears. "He didn't make it. And so he overdosed and he died."

Stackman says for his family, it's been a vicious cycle, with his son being sent to jail five times.

Watch extended interview with Joe Stackman

Stackman is finding new hope in Senate Bill 5811, proposed by Sen. Steve O'Ban. It aims to allow involuntary treatment of heroin users in Washington state if they meet certain criteria, like three or more arrests within 12-months or one or more hospitalizations connected to substance use.

Senate Bill 5811 has prompted hundreds of responses on King 5's Facebook Page.

One person wrote, "it won't work. You can't help those that don't want it."

Stackman sees it differently.

"If we can save 20% through a 'you are not leaving here until you complete this program,' if 20% of those people make it and don't use again, isn't it worth it," he asked.

Copyright 2017 KING


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