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Meth, the Forgotten Killer, Is Back. And It’s Everywhere

PORTLAND, Ore. — They huddled against the biting wind, pacing from one corner to another hoping to score heroin or pills. But a different drug was far more likely to be on offer outside the train station downtown, where homeless drug users live in tents pitched on the sidewalk.

“Everybody has meth around here — everybody,” said Sean, a 27-year-old heroin user who hangs out downtown and gave only his first name. “It’s the easiest to find.”

The scourge of crystal meth, with its exploding labs and ruinous effect on teeth and skin, has been all but forgotten amid national concern over the opioid crisis. But 12 years after Congress took aggressive action to curtail it, meth has returned with a vengeance.

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SPD Officers Use Naloxone, CPR to Revive man

Published on May 23, 2017
Police responded to a report of a man down in the 1500 block of 9th Avenue just before midnight and were quickly flagged down by a woman. The woman pointed officers to a man lying on the sidewalk, and said he had recently used heroin.

Officer Jared Levitt and Sergeant Dave Hockett saw the 40-year-old man was struggling to breathe and gave him a dose of nasal naloxone and began CPR a short time later.

SFD medics arrived and took over treatment of the man, who regained consciousness and was taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment.

This incident marks the 16th time officers have used Naloxone since Seattle police began carrying it in mid-March. The case will become part of the ongoing study conducted by the University of Washington into SPD’s use of Naloxone for a possible department-wide deployment.

As a reminder, Washington law provides immunity from criminal drug possession charges for anyone seeking medical aid for themselves or someone else experiencing an overdose.

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VOCAL Washington on Seattle Capitol Hill This Week

vocal-washington

From: CapitolHillSeattle

Meanwhile, another potential public health intervention for chronic drug users is making the rounds in Seattle. A mock safe consumption site for drug users set up by VOCAL Washington is making stops on Capitol Hill this week. The site targets users who inject and provides low-threshold access to a supervised space to consume pre-obtained illicit drugs, clean equipment, emergency care in the case of overdoses, and referrals to healthcare and drug treatment services if desired by the user.

On Monday, the site was set up in Cal Anderson from noon to 7 PM. Advocate Ashley Hempelmann said safe consumption sites cut down on transferrals of drug users to hospitals and public disorder. There are no cities in the U.S. currently using safe consumption sites.

VOCAL’s Patricia Sully said the pop-up site in the middle a city park is a way to make it easy for lots of people to learn more about how the resource would work — not demonstrate an actual working consumption site.

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