Today, Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement regarding the joint response to the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Task Force recommendations:
“Like many places across our nation, Seattle and King County are experiencing an epidemic of heroin and prescription opiate use unlike any we’ve seen before. Over the last two years, the Seattle Fire Department responded to more than 3,700 incidents related to drug overdoses, as this crisis has affected every community in our city.
“Because we need an aggressive, comprehensive approach to this crisis, I strongly support implementing the recommendations of the Task Force, including expanded treatment options such as greater access to buprenorphine, increasing the life-saving use of naloxone and the two Community Health Engagement Location (CHEL) pilots, often called supervised consumption sites.
“The King County Executive and I have directed Seattle/King County Public Health to implement the task force recommendation of two CHEL pilot sites, one in the city and one in the county. This work will begin with an implementation work group that will address questions of funding, siting and operations. My visit to Insite, Vancouver, Canada’s safe consumption site, made clear these sites save lives and that is our goal in Seattle/King County. Keeping people alive gives them the opportunity to get treatment and begin their path to recovery.
“I am thankful for the service of the members of the Task Force and Executive Constantine for our shared commitment to addressing this epidemic. The recommendations from the Task Force are a good start for our communities, but we will still need support from our state and federal partners to address this crisis and make a measurable difference in opiate addiction.”