Lenient drug use policies and lax enforcement in the Pacific Northwest are endangering children

needles in snohomish county herald net photo

Needle cleanup in Snohomish County, Washington/Herald Net photo

In February, Snohomish County (north of King County – Seattle area) announced that drug users would get a pass if they’re busted with less than 2 grams of any drug. Apparently the county doesn’t have enough prosecutors to take on these cases.

Just before Snohomish County announced this, the King County Prosecutor’s Office announced that they were cutting loose about 1,500 misdemeanor cases from 2017 due to staffing shortages. An anonymous police officer in King County — going under the Reddit handle of “BummedCop” — noted that charges ranging from criminal trespass to theft, vehicle prowls, and possession of stolen property would be dismissed.

Until recently, Snohomish County allowed drug consumption sites at supervised drug facilities. In March, the county council approved an ordinance that permanently bans drug consumption sites. From MyNorthwest.com:

“The permanent ban follows a six-month moratorium on drug consumption sites that county officials passed in September 2017. The council used the time to codify a permanent ban.

“We want to get out ahead of the game and make sure we’re not having these safe injection sites anywhere near Snohomish County,” Councilmember Nate Nehring said in September.”

Meanwhile in King County they are working on providing “safe injection sites” for drug users. After studying the issue for almost a year and a half, county and city officials believe that the need for these sites exists yet have not formally decided on any locations. The task force does suggest six different options ranging from $350,000 to $5 million to start with close to $4 million in annual costs.

Seattle has also considered “safe consumption sites” where people can inject and smoke illegal drugs under medical supervision.

The drug use is so rampant in Snohomish County that at the end of 2017, over ONE MILLION used syringes were collected during the previous six months by a Snohomish County needle exchange program. From Herald Net:

Strayneedles have become a symptom and a symbol of the nationwide opioid crisis. Recovering addicts spent days cleaning nine tons of garbage and thousands of heroin needles from their former home, a patch of woods behind a Home Depot south of Everett.

Robert Smiley stayed in the camp years ago, when he abused alcohol and smoked crack. He dumped a bucket of 7,624 needles onto a tarp Monday, to show how many carpeted the ground days ago.

“All I know is this doesn’t need to be your neighborhood anymore,” Smiley said to an audience of volunteers, as they celebrated the progress of their cleanup at a barbecue Monday.

Smiley, 53, leads the Hand Up Project, a nonprofit that seeks to get people off the streets, into detox and into sober housing. Many of the volunteers are recovering addicts who lived in the camp in the past. Now they want to make things right, in a neighborhood plagued by drugs and related crime.

The city of Everett (in Snohomish County) provides free taxpayer-funded needle clean-up kits to Snohomish County residents and business owners so they can clean up needles found in the community. The kits include a sharps container, puncture proof gloves, safety glasses, tongs, hand sanitizer and simple instructions for safe collection.

And what is the result of lax drug-use policies and non-enforcement? Children are routinely encountering needles in parks/playgrounds/streets throughout Snohomish and King counties.

Last week a toddler was pricked by a dirty needle in an Everett playground.  MyNorthwest.com reports that the babysitter, Dana Smith, heard a scream. “The way he was screaming, he’s never screamed like that,” Smith said. “It was so scary and he was hysterical.”

The babysitter looked through the mulch and found a needle that appeared to be half used and filled with a brown substance. After safely retrieving it, she took the boy to the hospital.

Seattle’s Cal Anderson Park has become notorious for drug use. There are so many instances of children finding needles that a mom created a “See a Needle” web site to teach parents/kids/teachers what to do if they encounter needles.

In downtown Seattle, a mom took her three-year-old to see the Hello Kitty exhibit at the Experience Music Project (EMP). She turned her back for a second and the child had a syringe in her hand.

Syringes have been found in Les Grove Park in Auburn (King County), which has become a haven for homeless and drugs. A mom says she’s found dozens of used needles inside the park, including one that was just finger deep in a sandbox.

A public path near a Seattle elementary school had to be closed due to people repeatedly finding needles there. The public path is used by people to camp there and inject drugs. According to an elementary school PTA member, along with finding used needles, condoms and human waste is also a common site.

Needles are also prevalent on the east side of King County. Bothell Police tweeted about what to do when you encounter a needle in a park. Their most recent tweet about needles on April 24:

Heading to a park/playground to enjoy the sun? Unfortunately that means some kids may come across discarded needles. What should you do if you see a discarded needle or drug paraphernalia? Thanks to Daisy’s wonderful artwork, we have an idea. – Don’t Touch – Mark it – Call 911.”

I understand that the opioid crisis is a contributing factor to children finding needles. King County does as well and in January they filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, the company behind the painkiller OxyContin, blaming the company of fueling the opioid epidemic there.  The suit also alleges “the opioid epidemic has contributed significantly to the homelessness crisis in King County.”

More about the lawsuit from KIRO TV:

The lawsuit descries describes deplorable conditions in parks, including syringes found daily this summer on a children’s play area at a park in White Center, used needles daily on ball fields, and homeless encampments filled with human waste that destroyed years of environmental restoration work.

The court filing provides the most vivid details released to the public about the extent of the problem. 

But even if King County wins the suit, a financial gain from the lawsuit is likely years away – and it’s not clear how county officials can adequately address the exploding problem of homelessness, biohazardous waste and syringes that often create a public safety risk. 

The lawsuit states that tens of thousands of needles still litter local parks, putting staff at risk and requiring them to provide reduced services to park-goers to avoid the chance of injury. Sheriff’s deputies and Metro employees also are repeatedly exposed to dangers, and Metro has collected more than 650 pounds of the roughly pen-size needles since 2013.”

The Pacific Northwest/Seattle area has been trying to address the opioid and homeless crisis for many, many years. And they have spent millions and millions of dollars.

Yet it is NEVER enough taxpayer dollars.

When you allow the homeless and junkies to freely shoot up with no criminal consequences you end up with discarded needles. Needles that become a public safety issue.

What do you want to bet another tax will be the next solution?

DCG

14 responses to “Lenient drug use policies and lax enforcement in the Pacific Northwest are endangering children

  1. When was the last time we heard of anything good happening in the Seattle and surround areas? A beautiful area being taken over with loons in the management. Liberals ways are not always beneficial.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Nothing good happening: Property taxes in Seattle went up about 17% last year, city project costs are ALWAYS over estimates (think $12 MILLION to build ONE MILE of bike lanes), progressives frequently block streets during rush hour to protest their latest grievance, traffic is horrendous, a new tax on soda purchases, the highest sales tax rate in the state, police response time SUCKS, anti-Second Amendment stance, and on and on in that city.

      And this is now a frequent sight in Seattle:

      All that is needed to fix every problem is more taxpayer money!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I might sound hard, but in my opinion, this is the exact opposite way to address this problem, the needle problem to be exact, to me, that’s the most important in comparison to simple possession. First off, I’m appalled at the amount of discarded syringes, that is so f#@*%n dangerous…for kids, adults, animals, waterways and storm drains, and I really hope that foliage can’t contract. I say, set up felony 3 strike laws pertaining to discarding a syringe, after all, it is attempted murder in my book. It would be a good way to get the addicts out of society too, here’s how.. most are probably already in the system from priors, it might cost us a little money, but in this case worth it. We set up a small team of hazmat workers to collect the discarded needles, which they already seem to have looking at the above photo. We partner with a Lab to take Prints and DNA from each needle, we use other resources like the thousands of video surveillance cameras from public and private businesses. Then we throw the book at them, 10 years for strike 3, in a work camp giving back to the community that the individual helped to destroy, in no time at all, THEY will be the free hazmat team, the convicted will be policing their own subculture, abiding by stringent rules like urine/blood tests, ankle GPS, make them live in military type Quonset huts, grow gardens, cook their own food, in a remote location away from the mainstream taxpaying population. We could set up a tent city like Joe Arpaio did. This has to be stopped now, or it will just get worse, it almost sounds like the city is condoning it, a scorched earth mentality.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Isn’t this the city planning on spending $30,000 each for cabins placed in back yards for homeless??
    Maybe money spent in another area better idea???

    Liked by 2 people

    • Won’t those cabins just become “shooting galleries”? (“What could possibly go wrong?”)

      I’m so glad we left Seattle when we did. However, it was a case of “out of the pan, into the fire,” as we moved home to Southern CA. Oh well…at least our real estate value keeps climbing. (Not worth it, frankly.)

      Liked by 3 people

      • Well, yes……., they will . These people are insane. There are reasons they are on the street. It is possible to be homeless from a loss of a job, but that is usually not long-lived. Many of these people would be in institutions if we still had them.

        Simply dumping this problem on home-owners is not a solution. Why would anybody do this anyway?

        Liked by 3 people

        • Imagine what that would do to your homeowner’s premium. Yikes, the liability…

          Liked by 3 people

          • Ha, ha, yeah. Not to mention your popularity in your neighborhood. What would you think if your neighbor suddenly build a bunch of tool sheds for tweakers in your neighborhood?

            Ah the smell of barbecues, the sound of crickets and the screaming of incoherent tweakers fighting over drugs and the smell of urine wafting across your fence.

            Hey, if it unnerves you going to the bus depot, why not bring the bus depot home? Well, you lived in Seattle once. You know that it isn’t a Mensa extension.

            Liked by 3 people

  4. Stovepipe–you may have an idea there–I read annual keep of inmates went from 12,000 to about 18,000 a year…cheaper than spending 30,000 for cabins in someone’s back yard–because they still need food and health care.
    Prisons provide all that!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And the next big one in California is going to change the map because scientists say Ca will move to Wa, what a great natural arrangement, then they can secede from the United States and our tax moneyes will stay in our territory. They have to take the illegals!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on kommonsentsjane and commented:

    Reblogged on kommonsentsjane/blogkommonsents.

    Most people will say – it doesn’t effect me. I don’t want to get involved and just sweep it under the rug. We have become to complacent with our duty as citizens.

    Our colleges and schools are being run by socialist people who want to ruin our children’s minds. Until we rumble about it – nothing will be done. They started out with Clinton wanted to give condoms to our school children and teach them how to use them. Next, it was modern math where two and two could be anything. That set our kids behind for some time.

    And, now, they have graduated to marijuana and wanting to take away our guns and still no repercussion.

    So folks, what is it going to be? Haven’t we had enough. What we can do is vote and put them out of business, tell the states to stop giving these colleges tax money and make them live off their donors. No one will miss them because they are not teaching anything but mind control about hate. If your child wants to attend college – check out the college before you turn your child over to them.

    Don’t know what’s wrong with these people but they are endangering the children plus themselves in the road they are traveling.

    kommonsentsjane

    So isn’t that what you call being complacent?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Furthermore, anyone convicted of less than two rapes, two armed robberies, or two murders will receive a pass. AND, if they need a gun with which to commit those felonies, clean guns will be provided to them.

    At whatever the cost to the community. Because these folks need our help, so we’re going to help them rather than treat them like, well, criminals… or like the animals they are.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. This isn’t just a problem in washington either, oregon has similarly attempted to decriminalize hard drug possession, and they are not dealing with the problem. As a recent example, I was in a grocery store in southern oregon recently, and in broad daylight during the afternoon was approached by some sicko trying to pawn drugs off on me, not selling mind you, but give. Apparently judging from my clothing that I was one of his kind, or something, I am a fairly young looking fellow so there is no guarantee he could tell if I was a minor… I told the store employees, and they kinda just hmmed and hawed, and maybe one of them escorted him out… no police called, nothing else done. This is a small town mind you, that has a fair amount of children, and that such a vile filth was slithering around a grocery store in the afternoon was very disturbing. (And in case anyone thinks this was a fluke incident, last year I was in Ashland over there with my Wife, and a sicko approached us asking for LSD.) Suffice it to say the problem is bad and getting worse, and the police seem to be doing less than ever to stem the tide (probably on orders from the higher-ups).

    The police departments have to have extensive files on the drug chains and druglords supplying things, I don’t see why they can’t follow the chain of influence, if they aren’t compromised, and take out the kingpins, producers, and their most likely second & thirds that might try to take their place. I suspect that there aren’t enough individual/rogue producers of the drugs to supply this many abusers, so they’ve got to be being produced in mass, and coming in from somewhere.

    Unfortunately, access to such data is tightly controlled, and it would seem the citizens are being treated like mushrooms, kept in the dark and fed feces.

    Liked by 2 people

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