Monday, February 4, 2019

Safe Injection Sites

This item is a policy statement from the Colorado Republicans:
There are no heroin injection sites in the United States and we don't need the first to be here in Colorado. Even the Governor of California has vetoed legislation similar to the bill Colorado Democrats in the state legislature have discussed introducing. The Denver City Council has already passed an ordinance allowing for such sites, but it can’t be implemented unless and until the state changes state law.

Today, House and Senate Republicans hosted Steffan Tubbs, Peter Boyles, and Mark Crowley to share what they’ve learned about Vancouver's injection sites. The pictures and data they gathered on their investigative trip, and which they shared today, underscore the danger such a proposed site would pose to Colorado. For example, as they shared in their presentation today:
  • Since Vancouver's first injection site in 2003, British Columbia's overdose deaths have increased by more than 725%. 
  • Overdose deaths of British Columbians 10 - 18 years old are up 260%.
  • The number of heroin users in Vancouver is up from 4,700 overall in 2000 to over 7,300 at just one of the six injection sites in 2017.

Your House and Senate Republicans will continue to take a stand as this issue emerges at the Capitol. You can see Minority Leader Neville's interview here on why injection sites are bad policy. A policy that incentivizes self-destructive behavior and increases the number of overdose deaths is the opposite of compassionate.

For more details, data, and documentation on the effects of heroin injection sites on individuals and neighborhoods, you can visit KNUS's "No Safe Sites" page here.     
After thinking about this for a bit, I'm inclined to conditionally take the opposite position. 
1. Any and all such sites must be located at least 1/2 mile from any principally residential area. This will reduce the crime for the residents. Ideally I would like to see this done in City Park, in the block immediately West of the capitol building between the capitol building and City Hall. I am reliably informed that heroin and cocaine are pretty much freely sold at the nearby McDonalds, one on 16th st and one on East Colfax.

This puts everything within a block or so of the capitol building. Unfortunately it is also adjacent to the Denver public library which is already over run with just the sort of people you'd expect.

2. The result, as Sen Neville points out, would be death and destruction among the users who would have no check on their behaviors at all. Lots and lots of them would wind up dead. Is this compassionate? It is for the rest of us. It would probably spur a big increase in CCW applications from the residents 1-2 blocks away as well as an increase in Republican voter registrations or at least conservative unaffiliateds. Overall, a win for the good guys.

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