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Snohomish County Bans Safe-Injection Sites

Paul Chiasson
The Canadian Press via AP



Snohomish County leaders have permanently banned heroin "safe-injection" sites. The county council held a public hearing Wednesday to discuss the measure, and the overwhelming majority agreed with the ban.



No one is trying to put one of these sites in the county, but the council is calling the ban a “proactive” move.


Julie Anderson, who said her son used to be a heroin addict, was among those who spoke. She says having access to a safe-injection site could mean a relapse for her son.


“It’s a horrible situation. It’s not something that will take care of the problem," Anderson said. "It’s just something that will increase the problem. And I can’t imagine what effect in 10, 20 years having heroin injection sites will have on the society.”


There were also concerns about the site becoming a magnet for crime.


Only one person testified in favor of allowing safe-injection sites. Erin Stewart says if the county wants to combat the opioid epidemic, then leaders should consider all options.


“Honorable communities don’t pick and choose who to serve. We don’t say ‘not in my backyard.’ We don’t. We just don’t,” she said.


Snohomish County is among a growing list of places refusing to allow these sites. Several towns in Snohomish and King counties have put bans in place, including Bellevue and Lynnwood. Pierce County is now considering its own ban based on the one passed by Snohomish County leaders.

Ariel first entered a public radio newsroom in 2004 while in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. It was love at first sight. After graduating from Bradley, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ariel has lived in Indiana, Ohio and Alaska reporting on everything from salmon spawning to policy issues concerning education. She's been a host, a manager and now rides shotgun with Kirsten Kendrick as the Morning Edition producer at KNKX.