The King County Council voted 5-4 on Monday to limit the use of county funds for establishing heroin injection sites (Community Health Engagement Locations) only in cities whose elected leaders choose to locate these facilities in their communities.
After the vote, Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn released this statement:
“I am strongly against the implementation of heroin injection sites. I would rather see these resources go instead towards funding the proven treatment methods we already have and exploring new ways to support prevention, intervention, and treatment.
“It would take just one deadly overdose, one lawsuit, and King County taxpayers could be picking up the tab for a policy choice we created that in turn created liability for the county.
“If we are to gamble with this experimental policy I am at least glad we are giving local jurisdictions the chance to decide whether the location of these sites would be right for their residents.”
Dunn had proposed legislation to prevent any county expenditures from funding heroin injection sites. Dunn’s measure failed on a 6-3 vote.
The King County Seattle Board of Health, made up of some local elected officials and doctors, voted unanimously in January to endorse the sites, which would be the first of their kind in the nation. Safe injection sites, or locations where people would be supervised while using heroin, were part of more than 30 recommendations of the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force.