Seattle considering 'safe injection' site for drug users
VANCOUVER, B.C. - Seattle and King County are moving forward with proposed plans to open two supervised drug consumption sites.
They're being modeled after the only safe consumption site in North America called Insite, located in Vancouver, B.C.
Health officials claim the site is saving the lives of illegal drug users. KOMO traveled to Vancouver, B.C. to see first-hand how the program works.
"I've been a junkie since I've been 12 years old," said Vancouver resident Sean Reed, who's now 52. "I've never stopped."
The site is funded by Canadian taxpayers and is located in the center of Vancouver's worst drug-infested neighborhood. Officials say there's about 3,000 users in a 10-block area.
"Anything else you want to get your hands on - this is the place," said Reed.
Seattle is looking to model its supervised consumption sites after Insite and place two in the areas where drug users are most prevalent.
After 13 years, Insite said its Methods are working.
"There hasn't been an increase in crime rates, there hasn't been an increase in violence or anything in the community," said Insite manager Neil Arao. "We have a really good partnership with the Vancouver Police Department as well."
The Vancouver Police declined an interview for this story.
Users who rely on Insite, like one man named Bowden, can shoot up under the supervision of a nurse, no judgement.
"I think it kind of enables more, the using of drugs because since all these supplies are free what's going to stop me," he said.
He also admitted, "Inside Insite I have overdosed once, outside I've overdosed eight times."
One man overdosed right outside the front doors of Insite on Wednesday. Nurses from Insite came out and injected him with a life-saving drug.
Reed said it's a common site. Not only is he a user, he also sells drugs right at Insite's front door.
That's exactly one reason opponent are against the so-called safe injection sites in Seattle and King County. They're afraid the sites will bring more drug traffic.
"As sellers junkies are going to come here, and why not stand in front right where they are." said Reed.
Insite said it's supervised more than three million injections during its history - and there have been no fatal overdoses.
King County Public Health officials are now drawing up a list of possible locations that will be presented to the public.
Meantime, the State Senate is considering a bill calls for a total ban on safe injection sites.