Not content to lose statewide running against Seattle, Senator Miloscia is now opposing safe injection sites. Here’s a press release about it. This is a month old, but I haven’t done a metacommentary piece in a while. Since it just passed out of committee (third item), now is as good a time as any to get back to it.
Sen. Mark Miloscia introduced legislation Monday that would ban the creation of heroin-injection sites in Washington cities and counties. King County has proposed creating two county-operated locations where heroin and other illegal narcotics may be consumed “legally” under medical supervision.
I’m pretty sure it’s not actually legal, since that’s not something a county can do. As such, I’m not sure why it’s in quotes. Who you quoting? There must be a better way to say that. Here are a few off the top of my head:
– without fear of arrest
In any case there will be doctors around in case they have overdoses. They’ll probably refer them to treatment if they think they can, like they do in Vancouver:
Through Insite, clients develop trusting relationships with our health care and social workers, making them more likely to pursue withdrawal management (detox), addiction counselling and other addiction treatment services.
Anyway, back to Senator Miloscia’s month old press release. I don’t know what I’m doing either.
“We must stop the push for decriminalization of drugs,” said Miloscia, R-Federal Way. “Standing idly by while addicts abuse illegal drugs is not compassionate, and it does not solve the problem.”
That’s the fucking plan: To stand idly by. To just hire people to fuck around on their phones while people shoot up. They’ll whistle a tune that they half remember from their youth. Maybe look up passively from time to time and give a thumbs up in the direction of the addicts before turning back to Instagram.
It won’t be harm reduction and redirection of people to treatment where possible. It won’t be making sure that people don’t pass around dirty needles. It’s just sitting idly.
His legislation is a direct response to a report issued by the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force established by King County and the city of Seattle. The task force recommended two locations within King County where drug users can use illegal narcotics under medical supervision. The county recently approved funding for two injection sites in its 2017-2018 budget.
The people King County put in charge of this unanimously said it’s a piece of how we deal with the problem. But what if a grandstanding state senator decided his plan of do fuck all* was better?
Last year Miloscia toured Insite Coastal Health in Vancouver, Canada, the first supervised drug-consumption site in North America, to study the issue further.
He will proceed to say nothing about what he learned there for the rest of the press release. Instead he’ll take us home with a misleading statistic.
“Canada’s safe-injection site has completely failed and overdoses have skyrocketed,” Miloscia added. “We must focus our time, money and resources on treatment options that get people off illegal drugs, not encourage drug abuse.”
Overdoses are up in Vancouver, it’s true, and it’s tragic. They’re also up in lots of places where there aren’t safe injection sites. The reason seems to be fentanyl and other agents cut into heroin.
The Globe and Mail reports that overdose deaths rose to 914 during 2016. In contrast, there were 510 overdose deaths in 2015. It’s the province’s worst overdose rate in the 30 years it’s been keeping records.
In Seattle, KIRO 7 reports that the Seattle Fire Department has responded to 2,677 overdoses since 2014.
Canadian officials are blaming much of the rise on the inclusion of fentanyl, which is a synthetic opiate that can be cut into heroin. It is cheaper than heroin, yet much more potent, and can lead to overdoses. Fentanyl is suspected to be a factor in the recent surge in overdose deaths in Seattle, as well. What’s worse, is that another synthetic drug, carfentanil, has been found to have been mixed into B.C.’s heroin last fall. It is used as a large animal tranquilizer, and is cut into heroin for the same reasons as fentanyl. Though, it is even more potent.
Call me a dirty hippie if you want, but it seems like safe injection sites would be better places to test for fentanyl than in a hotel room. Or an abandoned lot near your dealer’s house. Or on your bathroom floor while your kids are playing in the next room.
* On Twitter, he says he wants to get addicts “real help” and that’s fine in and of itself. The state, counties, and cities, should have more treatment programs, public and private. It will surprise exactly 0 of you to learn that the rest of this press release has nothing about how he would get addicts help. His press releases page has nothing about how he would do that. He hasn’t sponsored any bills to get addicts the help they need.**
** At least as far as I could tell from the titles. God knows, I wasn’t going to get into the weeds on every bullshit bill he’s sponsored this session.