Seattle and King County, Wa., will create two safe-consumption sites for drug users, the first of their kind in the U.S., as part of an effort to halt the surge of heroin and prescription opioid overdose deaths in the region, announced Mayor Ed Murray and County Executive Dow Constantine, the Seattle Times reports. The sites, stocked with the overdose-reversing drug naloxone, aim to save lives and connect people dealing with addiction to treatment services.
Murray and Constantine will move forward with all recommendations of the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force that they convened last year, the most controversial of which are the safe drug-use sites. Other recommendations include increasing access to naloxone and medication assisted treatment drugs like Suboxone. “The crisis is growing beyond anything we have seen before,” Murray said. “We can do something about that.” Murray acknowledged that getting funding may be more difficult with the new presidential administration. There are still big battles to come, as an “implementation work group” tries to determine funding and locations for the sites, which are likely to prompt protests from surrounding neighborhoods.