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The Overcast: Should King County Voters Decide The Fate Of Safe-Injection Sites?

Darryl Dyck
The Canadian Press via AP
In this 2011 file photo, a nurse shows a tray of supplies to be used by a drug user at a safe-injection site in Vancouver, B.C. King County is considering opening the first safe-injection site in the U.S.

The fight over safe drug-injection sites is underway in King County.

Earlier this year, county leaders moved to open two of them as part of a larger plan to deal with the opioid crisis.

But opponents have gathered enough signatures to put forward Initiative 27. If approved, it would ban safe-injection sites across the county.

That prompted public health advocates to file a lawsuit to keep that initiative from appearing on the ballot.

One major question is whether voters should have a say in public health decisions that require expert analysis.

The Seattle Times political reporter Jim Brunner and City Hall reporter Dan Beekman spoke to people on both sides of the debate. First they talk to attorney Knoll Lowney, who represents the group that filed the lawsuit challenging I-27. Then they talk to Bothell City Councilman Joshua Freed, who is leading the effort to ban safe-injection sites.

The conversation above is an excerpt from "The Overcast," the Seattle Times weekly politics podcast recorded here at KNKX. 

To hear more about I-27 and the lawsuit challenging it, you can find the whole episode here. You can find "The Overcast" on iTunes, Tunein, Stitcher and SoundCloud.

A Seattle native and former KNKX intern, Simone Alicea spent four years as a producer and reporter at KNKX. She earned her Bachelor's of Journalism from Northwestern University and covered breaking news for the Chicago Sun-Times. During her undergraduate career, she spent time in Cape Town, South Africa, covering metro news for the Cape Times.