Washington Homeless Shelters Support Drug Use

In this article from 2017 Bob Young and Vernal Coleman from the Seattle Times reported on the status of homeless shelters in the early stages of planning that allow and aid in the residents’ use of illegal drugs, including heroin. According to Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, “The idea is that users could visit a supervised facility where they could get clean needles and anti-overdose medications as well as medical attention as needed and treatment options.”

The article written by Young and Coleman in 2017 was a preview of what was to come in just a few short years. According to this article yesterday by Jason Rantz of KTTH, “A Seattle-backed homeless shelter is instructing addicts to smoke heroin and inject drugs rectally. And the shelter is using tax dollars to help get addicts high.” Rantz acknowledges the dangers in encouraging use of heroin and brings to light the posting of flyers in public areas to inform the general public of the most ideal ways to administer heroin.

The money that is being allocated for this pro-drug message to the homeless population is funded by the City of Seattle via contract with the Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC) according to Rantz. The DESC offers harm reduction supplies for the use of illegal drugs; such items include clean syringes and pipes. The Navigation Center, a homeless shelter, allows its previously homeless residents to use drugs and alcohol as they choose, there are no consequences for this use and no limit on how many people they bring in.

Tax dollars in Seattle are now funding and propagating the use of heroin among their homeless population as an incentive to get these individuals off the street. Rantz is doubtful that this effort to “address” drug addiction and the spread of communicable diseases is not likely to achieve its intended consequences. With drug addiction continuing and drug possession being decriminalized in Washington, there is high probability crime rates will continue to increase. Rantz commented, “The longer a homeless addict stays addicted, the more crime they will likely commit to feed their addiction.” This statement can be more broadly applied to say that the longer an individual, on average, is using illegal substances, the more likely they are to engage in illegal means to obtain the money needed to pay for their next high. There needs to be a check and balance, allowing individuals to use drugs as they choose without any responsibility for their actions or their living arrangements will produce chaos and encourage dependency.