Tag Archives: drug addiction

BC’s legal drug injection site will stay that way

If you were against the prospect of a methadone clinic in Bremerton, you’ll likely be incensed by a rather radical approach to drug addiction in British Columbia. At Insite, a clinic in Vancouver’s lower eastside, drug addicts are able to bring in and inject illegal drugs under the supervision of a nurse.

The argument for the clinic is that even if they’re choosing to abuse drugs like heroin, the chance they’ll overdose or hurt themselves while in the presence of medical professionals is far less. A study released recently confirms that point.

And on Friday, proponents of the clinic scored a victory when the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that Insite would be allowed to operate in the face of drug laws because closing it would be a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (The Charter is basically the Canadian version of our Bill of Rights, though it was passed in 1982.)

As you may recall, a Seattle non-profit led an effort recently to place a methadone clinic in Bremerton to combat the region’s rising opiate addiction epidemic. But businesses and residents in the area, fearing problems it might bring to the Charlston neighborhood, pushed back and the non-profit abandoned its plans.

What that non-profit does is far different from a free injection site. Methadone, a long-acting opiate, is used as a replacement drug for opiate addicts. It can be effective at quelling the addiction without giving the patient a high.

That said, how do you feel about the idea of so-called “safe injection sites?” Are those Canadians on to something, or are they off their rockers?

Followup: John Wayne Houston Returns to his Roots

John Houston is finally home. Working as a prevention intervention specialist in Renton schools, the 56-year-old is back in the place he grew up, according to a story by Adam McFadden in the Renton Reporter.

His life, as those who regularly read our paper know, took one heck of a detour.

I met Houston in late 2005 as part of a series on Bremerton’s high violent crime rate. Houston had lived for more than a decade on the streets of Bremerton, using, abusing and selling crack cocaine. Houston never believed he’d get out of that violent and helpless underworld.

But arrested by Bremerton police in 2004, he set out to change his life of addiction, one that held him for about 36 years. It wasn’t easy, but through Kitsap County Drug Court, he got on stable footing and set his sights on a new path — helping young people whose lives teetered on the verge of drug addiction like his. He graduated with an associate’s degree from Olympic College in 2008.

He’s since held jobs in Kitsap, Island County and finally, Renton, with the Puget Sound Educational Service District.

He still sends me — and several others blessed to know his amazing transition — a weekly email about his life. Recently he wrote about his time in Bremerton, and how it’s important to reflect on both the good days and the bad.

“I just remember waking up in the woods, soaked, hungry and hopeless. Just like those blue skies and greenness of the trees, I remember the ugliness of where my addiction took me. Just like with the skies and the trees, I must remember the ugliness in order for me to never return there again. Thank you for your support and I love you.”