King County, Washington, could soon be home to the country’s first legal heroin shooting galleries.
According to the Seattle Times, the health board there has unanimously given preliminary approval for at least two heroin injection sites in the county, which is home to 2 million people and includes the city of Seattle. The mayor and the county executive will now consider the issue.
The injection sites would allow opioid users to take their drugs under medical supervision and without fear of arrest. Though such operations exist in 27 cities around the world, there are none in the United States where there were an estimated million heroin users in 2014.
Proponents of the injection sites argue that addicts will use heroin regardless of its legality and that opening a safe place to do drugs can drive down crime in urban areas, prevent fatal overdoses and help guide users toward drug treatment and other health care.