Under the Needle

Against Safe Injection Sites for Drug Users? A Self-Guided Walking Tour Through the Injection Sites We Already Have Just Might Change Your Mind!


I kind of think injecting drugs should carry with it a risk of death.
@2 I think being alive should carry with it a risk of death.
Some thoughts from a Harborview Nurse:

One thing that I hope doesn't get lost amidst Seattle's push for safe consumption sites is the reality of how horrible opiate addiction is even WITH clean needles and pure product. The worst thing opiate addiction does to people isn't Hep C, HIV, abscesses or even death. The worst thing it does is destroy personalities or, at the very least, make people useless and unreliable. A noticeable proportion of drug users I've interacted with have been made into truly horrifying people as a result of their addiction. They've lied cheated and stolen to feed their addiction and most of the time the victims are innocent friends and family members. Furthermore, opiate abuse makes a lot of users MEAN. So mean in fact, that I'd rather have Hep C, HIV and abscesses than be as mean as some people I've met at work.

But even the addicts who aren't mean still hurt other people severely. It's almost impossible to be a good father AND an addict. It's almost impossible to hold a decent job AND be an addict. It's hard to be a contributing part of a friendship when you're feeding an addiction.

When we talk about the stigma associated with drug abusers some of it is unearned. Unfortunately, I would argue most of it isn't. They need love and acceptance, but it would be a huge disservice to the people they've harmed to deny the repercussions of their actions. The horrible health side effects of drugs are often exaggerated. In my experience the opposite is true when it comes to the behavioral side effects.

All that said, I'm glad to see more common sense in public health policy.
A predictably biased article. Below is what I sent to Heidi. I guess it did not fit the Stranger's preferred narrative. When doe journalistic integrity come in to play?

Here is what I sent Heidi:
In short, I am not opposed to Safe Injection sites. Nobody should die for an addiction. However, this should be coupled with addiction treatment with IMMEDIATE availability to those who want treatment. Currently Seattle has a 150-person waiting list for heroin rehab. Waiting for 4 - 6 weeks for a spot in a treatment facility is a "lifetime" for many addicts. Overdoses deaths are up 300% in 2 years to 154 (half of which were homeless people), and based on my experience in Boston, you should expect this to double in shot order... especially if a bad batch of heroin makes its way here.

Secondly, we need to follow Massachusetts lead and limit opiate prescriptions to a 7 day supply. Most of the heroin addicts I know, started out using Oxycontin and became addicted. Over-prescribing has created a black market for opiate-based pharmaceuticals. We must cut off the supply to that black market as much as possible and drastically reduce the number of people who are becoming addicted. Having a 7 day supply is commonsense. For those who are in cancer or hospice care, they generally can get immediate access to the prescriptions they need to control their pain.

Our nation is literally facing the largest medical malpractice in our history. Pharmaceutical companies and pain management doctors have created this situation and THEY should pay to fix the situation. What we need is every city and state attorney general to come together and file a class action lawsuit against Purdue pharmaceuticals and every pain management doctor who over-prescribed Oxycontin. This would immediately get the pharmaceutical and pain management industry to change their ways.

We must also alter the LEAD program Seattle is experimenting with. We cannot allow heroin dealers to go unchecked. In PBS' documentary "Chasing Heroin", they allowed a heroin dealer to go unpunished. This is simply deadly. In fact, based on how deadly heroin is, we may want to consider following Pennsylvania's lead and charge heroin dealers with murder when one of their customers die.

What a safe injection site will not do is address the heroin-induced crime and prostitution. Our crime is out of control. Car break-in and property crimes are off the charts. Seattle is the number one city in property crime in our nation. Worst though, it sickens me to think about all the females who are forced to have sex in order to stave off life-threatening heroin withdrawals. Call it what it is; rape. In any other situation if a female was forced to have sex or be forced to endure violent vomiting, torturous pain, and sickness that can kill you, we would call it rape.

Our illegal encampments have become a safe harbor for addiction, mental illness, crime, and other activity. These encampments must be closed. We are simply enabling addiction to happen. We should take an approach of saying, "You cannot stay here, but we have a treatment program you can go to right now. I realize this will require Seattle to dramatically shift funds to better align services for what our homeless neighbor need. But once aligned properly, we should enforce ordinances to discourage illegal camping and encourage treatment.

Our current approach is absolutely not working and we have more than enough data to prove it. Our housing-first funds are being eaten up by contractors who seem to care more about lucrative contracts than they do about helping the homeless. SHARE is about to shutter 15 homeless shelters because they did not receive $28k in bus tickets from King County. The Safe RV lot costs $35k/month ($4k for accounting and $19k for staffing). The head of LIHI makes $180k... almost more than our mayor. The first thing we need to do is track and measure outcomes as the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness prescribes. https://www.usich.gov/ Currently, many of the the homeless service providers reject these approached. Yet, 33 states have seen a drop in homelessness while Seattle's homeless population skyrockets. Why are we failing so badly if we spend the most money per/capita on homelessness? Sadly, it appears Seattle has a Homeless Industrial Complex who cares solely about lucrative contracts and not the outcomes of the people they are charged with helping.

Let me know if I can clarify anything for you.

As for the needles Heidi Groover cannot find... you are a few months late. Seattle Police
Department has moved the RVs and SDOT has cleaned up the needles. Crime has dropped dramatically since the RVs were removed and only a few needles can be found... which confirms our assertions. Too many RV owners are a source of crime, drug dealing, and drug addiction.

Where were you when there were dozens of RVs parked and dumping needles all over the ground? Here is a little refresher of what it was like in December. Let me know if you want more videos to remind you of the realities you are trying erase. http://q13fox.com/2015/12/22/seattle-res…
All library bathrooms are open game. But the question is, will they be willing to walk a few extra blocks or bus to a site? I doubt it. These sites will help a lot. I'm all for them. But a lot of addicts just won't care.
@papaperu32, do you have experience with people on methadone maintenance? What's your sense of their personalities?

Not saying availability is a panacea --alcohol is plenty available and alcoholics can be plenty fucked up -- but I can't imagine the scrounging criminality to keep on the addiction treadmill is good for personalities either.