According to KIRO7, public drug use can now end in arrest – though there remains a large effort to funnel drug users into treatment programs.
CB 120645 adds the crimes of using a controlled substance in public space and knowing possession of a controlled substance to the statute’s list of crimes. The move follows a Sept. 12 proposed ordinance passed by the Seattle City Council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee by a vote of 4-1.
Residents were sharply divided over the plan.
“There is no budget to support this and there is no plan, no care, compassion or commitment to do anything other than imprison our most vulnerable citizens,” said one woman during the public comment section during a committee meeting.
Others were for it.
“Restoring a safe and welcoming environment downtown will bring back residents, workers and visitors, increase the momentum needed to get downtown on a sustained path to recovery,” said one man.
The dissenting councilmember, Teresa Mosqueda, said the ordinance lacked attention to diversion efforts.
“I want people to get access to public health services just as much as the people who testified in support of this legislation say they want. But that is not what this legislation does. And without the funding that is purported to come with this bill, we have no assurances that there will be alternative structures and programs and diversion strategies to prevent people from going to jail. We do not have to pass this legislation,” she said.