King County Council pushes public vote over injection sites to February

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SEATTLE — The danger in the streets of abuse and addiction needs attention.

But is sanctioned drug-use the way to go?

“People are allowed to come into these facilities and use drugs,” said Joshua Freed, the chief sponsor of Initiative 27.

It would stop drug consumption sites in King County.

The Bothell City Councilman got more than enough signatures, but the King County Council decided Monday to put I-27 on the February ballot instead of this coming November.

Dr. Robert Wood wants to stop that public vote altogether.

“The people aren't always the most knowledgeable people. It would be sort of like turning over to the people whether you ought to have flu shots,” he said bluntly.

Wood filed a suit Monday to can I-27, saying his experience working with needle exchanges shows controversy shouldn't stop progress.

“These are people who have a disease. The disease needs to be treated,” he said.

See Lawsuit seeks to block public vote on safe-injection sites

But Freed said the sites send a bad message about treatment and will only encourage more problems.

“We would rather spend those funds elsewhere. We don't want heroin injection sites within our communities,” Freed said.

Is there initiative fatigue though? So many have hit the ballot in recent years, and there is much less engagement in an off-year election.

“Sometimes you elect elected officials to do the job and hope that they represent your desires. We're not seeing that here today,” Freed said.

Wood doesn't want to roll the dice---with lives at stake.

“We can educate them, we can befriend them, we can help them get into treatment,” he said.

The King County Council will hold a public hearing in subcommittee on September 6.

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