Should Seattle reconsider safe drug-consumption sites? We look at Vancouver’s example

published on December 10, 2023 by Greg Kim in Seattle Times

VANCOUVER, B.C. — As people walk into Overdose Prevention Society in Vancouver, they’re asked two questions: the “tag” they go by and what drug they’re using that day.

Chairs are spread throughout the room where people can inject or snort drugs. An outdoor patio in the back where people can smoke fentanyl is increasingly the most popular area. Oxygen tanks line one of the graffiti-covered walls to keep people breathing during an overdose.

This is one of a dozen places in the Vancouver region where anyone can walk in to use drugs in a supervised environment, where staff will reverse an overdose if one occurs. The city pioneered this model in North America 20 years ago to stem deaths from a growing drug crisis.

Thirteen years later, Seattle and King County took steps to follow suit. Elected officials, including then-City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, supported safe consumption sites nearly unanimously, setting aside more than a million dollars for them. But the project and the support have since fizzled out…

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