Seattle, WA – Several Seattle City Council members have announced that they plan to move forward with multi-million dollar, taxpayer-funded proposal to purchase a massive recreation vehicle that would provide intravenous drug users with a space to shoot up.
One city council member said she would even like to look into the option of providing illegal drugs for users.
The estimated startup costs associated with the project amount to $1.8 million, not including the $2.5 million in additional taxpayer dollars that would be needed to operate it, KCPQ reported.
“We were looking at those city-owned and county-owned properties, but none were really viable that were appropriate,” Seattle Human Services Department representative Meg Olberding told KIRO.
Instead of a brick-and-mortar location, project proponents began exploring the concept of a “fixed-mobile” site, which would allow the RV to be moved to a set location each day, then taken back to a secure facility off-site for cleaning and maintenance at night, KIRO reported.
“It is an option where we would actually lease or go into an agreement regarding a fixed site,” Human Services Department health strategist Jeff Sakuma explained during a June 7 council committee meeting. “This is potentially a very large vehicle that we would then house the consumption activity in.”
The RV would offer accommodations including booths where addicts could use illegal drugs and a separate section designated for recovery.
“We would want to make sure we provide a safe area, not only for the neighbors but for the individuals who are using as well,” Sakuma told the council.
During the meeting, council members Sally Bagshaw and Debora Juarez urged proponents of the “safe injection site” plan to go out into the community to convert those who opposed the concept.
“A particular group of people shows up at every one of my community meetings to come at me over that [issue],” an apparently exasperated Juarez said. “You can only do so much.”
“No one deserves to die behind a 7-Eleven,” she added.
Council member Teresa Mosqueda said that data behind the model showed that such sites help to prevent deaths and provide opportunities for community outreach.
“Every day we don’t move forward, people are at risk for overdose and death, so with that in mind and with this sense of urgency for the third time this year alone that you have heard us express this, I am calling on our mayor and our county as a whole to act with urgency so we can move forward this year,” Mosqueda proclaimed.
Bagshaw took the concept of enabling drug addicts a step further and said she would like to learn more about the possibility of providing drugs for users who may not be able to bring their own.
“I have heard of some other models where drugs are provided…And that’s a public safety model,” Bagshaw said, according to KIRO. “Because those who may not have the money to buy drugs are not breaking and entering to obtain whatever they need to buy whatever it is they are using. I would like to explore this…part of what we are trying to do is reduce crime as well.”
The city has already allocated $1.3 million to put towards the RV’s upstart, but the additional millions of dollars in operating costs have not yet been secured, KCPQ reported.