Republican State Senator Mark Miloscia has asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to intervene in Seattle and King County’s plan to open two pilot safe drug sites. The sites were recommended by a task force earlier this year as a way to help drug users stay alive and get stable.
As we’ve previously reported, Miloscia opposes the sites. He’s already sponsored a bill to block safe drug sites at the state level. On Wednesday, he went further by sending an official letter to the head of the Department of Justice asking him to do the same.
From the letter:
Dear Honorable Jeff Sessions:
I am writing to bring your attention to an urgent matter impacting the citizens of Washington State, and requesting your immediate intervention. I believe the actions of King County, Washington have the potential to set a dangerous precedent in the United States, in violation of federal law.
As you know, there is an opioid epidemic sweeping our nation. The explosion of deaths associated with prescription opioid misuse and heroin is unacceptable. This is a time to focus on developing ways to help connect people with treatment, and educating our communities about the dangers of illicit drug use. Instead of helping, King County is promoting a culture of toleration, diverting precious resources away from treatment, and using an ideological platform to build a permissive society.
As we’ve reported previously, rigorous studies of safe drug sites have found them to be effective at reducing drug fatalities (no one has died from an overdose at a safe drug site anywhere, ever) and helping drug users connect with services and counseling. They also save money by reducing downstream costs like emergency services for addicts in crisis.
Miloscia did not immediately respond to request for comment.
King County Councilmember Jean Kohl-Welles responded to news of Miloscia’s letter with this written statement:
We have two choices: to allow users to consume in safe, supervised spaces with access to services, or to continue pushing them into the shadows, where they shoot up in alleyways, on kids playgrounds, and on our city streets. Parents throughout the region will tell you they’ve found a needle at the playground or park. That’s not safe and it’s wrong to put children in danger needlessly. CHEL sites offer the same treatment options Sen. Milsocia is advocating for. I hope he can come around on this and do what’s right for both users and society as a whole.