Statement on Seattle City Council Hearing on Creating a Safe Consumption Space

SEATTLE, WA – Today, the Seattle City Council's Committee on Housing, Health, Energy, and Workers Rights discussed the path forward to create a safe consumption space (SCS) in Seattle. SCSs are safe, clean spaces where people can use previously obtained drugs under the supervision of healthcare professionals who provide support, safe and sterile equipment, and overdose prevention. They are a proven and positive solution that reduce deaths and medical issues, restore public safety and community spaces, and connect people who use drugs with resources for treatment.

Although SCSs have been saving lives around the world for over 30 years with more than 100 sites worldwide and zero overdose deaths, none exist in the United States. Seattle is poised to be among the first cities in the nation to create an SCS, and the Yes to SCS campaign was onsite today with testimonials from health care workers, parents who have lost loved ones, people seeking treatment, and advocates to impress upon elected leaders that our community cannot wait any longer.

Statement from Patricia Sully, Coordinator of the Yes to SCS campaign and staff attorney at the Public Defender Association:

"Overdose rates are now at record levels, killing more than 300 King County residents each year. To be candid: delays mean death. We are grateful to the leaders in the Seattle City Council and King County Council who continue to stand with us in the pursuit of this evidence-based and proven solution that will literally save lives. We stand ready to work with leaders to respond with urgency to the latest report delivered to the Council, and build on the momentum we are seeing in cities across the country. We will also continue to advocate for a safe consumption space program model that is client-centered, dignified, and gives health care workers their best chance to develop transformational relationships with participants while also saving lives in the event of an overdose. Relationship and community are central to recovery, and SCSs allow people who consume drugs to build trusted relationships with providers and community health workers in a stigma-free environment. These experts can then be there when they’re ready to make a change. The time is now for Seattle to say Yes to SCS." 

View video from today's hearing here.

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