Seattle’s safe injection sites debate

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A kit of Naloxone, a heroin antidote that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, is displayed at a press conference about a new community prevention program for heroin overdoses (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

SEATTLE – King County leaders are hoping to open at least two safe injection sites for heroin addicts.  One would be located in Seattle and one in a suburban location.  These would be the first-ever facilities in the U.S. allowing heroin and opioid users to inject while being monitored by health professionals.

King County Executive Dow Constantine argues that this new approach is needed to combat the increase in drug overdoses in recent years.  There were 332 drug deaths in King County last year, two-thirds of which are attributed to opioid use.

Q13 News recently hosted a debate between a supporter and opponent of safe injection sites.  Kris Nyrop is with Protect Public Health and is pushing for these sites.  Joshua Freed is the Chair of Safe King County, who is working to prevent these sites from opening, including sponsoring Initiative 27.  That effort has collected enough signatures for the Feb. 2018 ballot and would prevent such sites anywhere in King County.

What follows is the five-part debate that first aired on Sunday, October 1.

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