SEATTLE — It’s not only a national epidemic, it’s a local one as well. According to King County, more people now enter detox for heroin abuse than they do for alcohol.
King County recently approved funding for two injection sites in its 2017-2018 budget, where addicts could safely inject drugs.
Sen. Mark Miloscia, R-Federal Way, introduced a bill that would effectively block the county from creating injection sites. He says after looking at similar sites in Canada he’s come to the conclusion they just don’t work.
Just last week, as Q13 News crews watched, a young man overdosed on heroin in Seattle but luckily for him, King County sheriff’s deputies were right around the block, and they were able to save his life.
It’s hard to watch but it hits home with a heroin epidemic spreading in Western Washington.
It’s all too common these days, and it's one reason why King County wants to build two injection sites, for users to shoot up under medical supervision.
"If this is a strategy that saves lives, if there are people who are going to die if we do not do this, then regardless of the political discomfort, I think it is something we have to move forward for," said King County Executive Dow Constantine in a press conference late last year.
But one state senator is now saying, not so fast.
“I believe it distracts us from the real problem, which is we have a substance abuse and mental health system that is falling apart,” said Miloscia.
After visiting a supervised injection location in Canada, Miloscia saw enough.
Now he’s pushing a bill to block any plans for local injection sites.
“There’s a reason most countries on the planet don’t do this, is because it doesn’t work,” said Miloscia.
While King County already set aside funds for the project, Miloscia says the real way to save lives is to stop addiction from happening in the first place.
“We need to start promoting, and we are not doing it in this state, that drug use is bad, drug dealing is bad,” said Miloscia.
He added that the bill has strong support in the Senate but isn’t sure how far it will make it in the House.
King County says its focus continues to be on saving lives, preventing harm and that means continuing to develop supervised injection sites.