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A chance for help

My heart goes out to Op-Ed writer Lisa DuFour [“I lost my son to a drug overdose: say no to safe injection sites,” March 18, Opinion]. I can’t imagine the pain she is dealing with after losing her son to an opioid overdose. As Seattle’s police chief for six years, I saw countless young, addicted people who needed far more help than law enforcement could possibly provide.

What I hope to gently convey to all parents in this tragic situation is that provision of a clean, medically-supervised place to inject dangerous drugs is a public-health necessity that very well may have saved her son’s life. Supervised injection facilities (SIFs) reduce the spread of HIV and other diseases caused by sharing needles, reduce public consumption and improper disposal of contaminated needles, and greatly reduce the risk of overdose because nurses can administer naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug, immediately.

SIFs do not increase community drug use or increase initiation into injection drug use. Moreover, providing a sterile, safe place to inject increases the chances that counselors will help individuals into treatment or support services.

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My deepest condolences to all those who have lost loved ones to this crisis. I know there’s a better future on the horizon.

Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, retired, Eastsound

 

Better to treat

A number of different arguments have recently been expressed both for and against safe injection sites. My objection is different and based on the issue of social justice.

Much of the money from drug sales fuels the power of cartels in Latin America. In some places, the cartels have so much power that they can force people into drug dealing, prostitution and murder. This feedback loop of drug money and violence has led to large numbers of families and women and children trying to flee these horrific abuses.

By supporting safe injection sites, the people of Seattle are saying that the health and welfare of our drug users are more important, and we are willing to sacrifice others to achieve it. What we need is to fund more treatment centers to end the cycle of drug use and violence.

Mark Phillips, Seattle