Seattle Mayor Impressed by Visit to Safe Drug Site in Vancouver, B.C.

Murray: ‘The first thing that stood out was the number of lives they’ve saved.’

Front entrance to Insite in Vancouver, B.C. Photo via Vancouver Coastal Health.

Will Seattle get safe drug sites? It’s looking more and more like the answer is yes.

Last month, a heroin task force recommended that Seattle and King County each install a pilot clinic where drug users can inject, smoke or snort under medical supervision, with counselors and social services available to anyone who wants them. “I believe we should have these sites,” Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said at the time.

Yesterday, Murray further signalled his approval of a Seattle safe drug site in a press release commending Insite, a safe injection-drug site in Vancouver, B.C. Murray visited Vancouver about two weeks ago.

“The first thing that stood out” about Insite, he said in a press release last night, “was the number of lives they’ve saved; some 5,000 overdoses have occurred at Insite since its inception [in 2003] and yet there has not been a single fatality to date. This success in keeping people alive means that the public health teams in Vancouver then have the opportunity to help people move into treatment as part of the continuum of care for people with substance abuse disorders.”

Many observers have noted that Insite works in part because Vancouver’s drug activity is mostly concentrated into one neighborhood, Downtown Eastside. Seattle, Murray noted, will likely need a “more distributed model recommended for our area,” in which drug activity is scattered, not centralized. Murray also praised “the low-tech efficiency in how it was run and respect for space, staff and each other among users; and the operational tie-in with the public health services in Vancouver, which enables the facility to maintain its existence despite political changes.”

More in News & Comment

Rhino riggers protest outside of the Jay-Z and Beyonce show outside of Seattle’s CenturyLink Field on Oct. 4, 2018. Photo courtesy of IATSE
The Backstage Blues: Riggers Complain of Unfair Labor Practices

Theatrical stage employees come for the music and stay for the thrill. But at what price?

The Seattle City Council voted in favor of the police union’s contract. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
City Council Approves Controversial Police Contract

Despite strong opposition, the majority of councilmembers ratified the agreement.

Rat City Roller Girls Ready to Rumble in 15th Season

New jammers and blockers make debut Nov. 17 at Debutante Brawl

Seattle police car. Photo by Dmitri Fedortchenko, Flickr Creative Commons.
Community Groups and Seattle Police Chief Weigh in On Police Contract

Seven of nine councilmembers will need to pass the agreement to ratify it. What will they decide?

Citizens gather for an interfaith candlelight vigil Nov. 1 at the Snohomish County Courthouse to honor the 11 victims of an attack at a Pittsburgh synagogue. Photo courtesy of The Herald.
Issaquah Company Hosts Gab, Social Media Favorite of the Far-Right

Website was pulled by GoDaddy after Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

The team that advocated for I-1631 at downtown Seattle’s Arctic Club on Nov. 6, 2018. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
Washington Rejects Carbon Fee

Campaign organizers say they will continue pushing for a cleaner future.

The race for Washington’s 8th Congressional District is between Kim Schrier (D) and Dino Rossi (R). File photo
Schrier Leads Rossi in Hotly-Contested 8th Congressional District

Candidates compete for seat vacated by Republican Dave Reichert

The race for Washington’s 9th Congressional District is between two Democrats, incumbent Adam Smith (left) and political newcomer Sarah Smith. File photo
Congressman Adam Smith Leads Re-Election Bid for WA’s 9th District

The district spans from Bellevue and south Seattle down through Renton, Tukwila, Kent, Federal Way and Tacoma

Most Read