Councilmember Sally Bagshaw (District 7, Pioneer Square to Magnolia) issued the following statement following the release of the Opiate Addiction Task Force’s recommendations:
“Opiate addiction is a terrible reality, and it’s a problem that we have seen across the nation. Addiction clearly exacerbates the struggle for those seeking to overcome homelessness, which is why I’m so heartened to receive the Opiate Addiction Task Force’s findings. My goal as a Seattle/King County Board of Public Health member is to implement proven best practices in Seattle to reverse this opioid crisis and provide tested options for people.
“I’m particularly drawn to the Task Force’s recommendation that we enhance access to buprenorphine, which is an effective tool to treat opioid addiction. As Council considers next year’s annual City budget, I intend to identify funding for a Belltown facility that will provide professional buprenorphine access for those looking to conquer or suppress their addictions.
“I witnessed firsthand the success of a similar buprenorphine program on my study mission to San Francisco this past May. With clinical help and a physician’s counseling, buprenorphine can be obtained through pharmacies or health clinics across San Francisco. When addicts are ready to seek treatment, they should not be put on a wait list—they need treatment right away. That’s why we need ‘treatment on demand’ to dramatically reduce the number of people addicted to heroin. Bupe is one of the alternatives that works.
“Families and neighborhoods confronting the struggles should not struggle alone. If we can reduce the root chemical cause of addiction with treatment alternatives, then count me in.”