On this past Monday, the King County Council voted to give the voters of King County a choice regarding how the County should respond to the opioid crisis we are facing by adopting an alternative proposal to Initiative 27, which would ban supervised drug consumption sites in King County. I was the lead sponsor of the ordinance creating the alternative, I-27b, which would allow for the remaining recommendation of eight which has yet to be implemented from the King County Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force’s Final Report: to initiate a three-year pilot program for the establishment of community health engagement locations. Other sponsors are Chair McDermott and Councilmembers Gossett, Dembowski, and Balducci.
Also on Monday, King County Superior Court Judge Veronica Alicea Galvan ruled I-27 invalid for exceeding the scope of the local initiative process and being inconsistent with state statute and case law. You can read more about the ruling in this Seattle Times article. However, even though the court prohibited it from being placed on the February ballot, the court proceedings may not be over. If the ruling is overturned in the appeals process, I-27 may someday be before the voters. Exercising its Charter responsibilities, the King County Council passed the ordinance by a 5 to 4 vote to ensure that if I-27 does make it to a ballot, the Council’s alternative will also be available on the same ballot for the voters to consider.
I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this issue. While we may not all agree, I believe we all want to reduce the negative effects of the opioid epidemic. No matter how this is resolved, I hope we all remain committed to helping those suffering from substance use disorder, in particular preventing overdose fatalities and risks to public health and safety.