Emotions run high over safe injection sites

It was not welcome news.

"I'm going to have to limit everybody's comment to one minute today," said Jeanne Kohl-Welles, King County Councilmember. "And ... "

"Come on," someone yelled from the crowd.

So many people crowded into the King County Council chambers that the Health, Housing and Community Services Committee cut their speaking time in half.

Still, it was soon clear most were there to support safe injection or consumption sites.

"My son asked me one day, as we passed two people crouched in the doorway, 'Mom what were they doing?' " said Lauri Watkins, a Capitol Hill resident who supports the sites. "And I had to respond, 'Honey, I think they were shooting up.'"

"I would think nobody wants to explain to their child why we ain't helping these people get off the street," said Sidney Wilson, " (And) into a safe consumption space to support people."

KIRO 7 traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia, to see it for ourselves. It's the only place in North America where heroin and other opioid addicts are allowed to consume the drugs in a supervised location.

Those here who vehemently oppose the sites told the council they, too, traveled to BC.

"And to say that it is an apocalyptic environment or something close to hell is very much a short-sight," said Joshua Freed.

He is running the initiative campaign to ban safe injection sites anywhere in King County.

"I'm saying that InSight is not the model we should be looking at in King County," Freed said.

"Safe injection sites are not safe."

Next month the Council Committee will consider a motion directing the King County executive to begin creating an implementation plan for the safe injection sites.