Addiction: The Syringe Exchange lives?
Updated: Apr 18
Written by Wes Cormier
The Grays Harbor County Commissioners, city officials and the community are dealing with an uninvited non-profit to do what has been discussed, debated, tried and ultimately removed out of our county; the Syringe Exchange Program.
Were they invited or are they acting on their own volition?
Willapa Behavioral Health has determined that they will pick up where Grays Harbor Public Health has left off after 16 years of giving out more than 19,000 syringes and drug kits weekly. That is more than 1 million syringes yearly to a county of about 70,000 people. That is 14 syringes for every man, woman and child.
The City of Aberdeen has cited 1,794 individuals with possession of drug paraphernalia since the inception of the Syringe Exchange Program. How can it be illegal for an individual to possess drug paraphernalia but it be perfectly legal for group of individuals to hand out thousands of syringes intended for illicit drug use without the permission of elected leaders, law enforcement or a discussion with the community?
Grays Harbor County elected two new County Commissioners in 2020 to represent them. One of the main focal points or issue of the campaign was the Syringe Exchange Program.
The newly elected County Commissioners Jill Warne and Kevin Pine were both against the program and vowed to end it. Both of the new Commissioners won with wide margins in their election against formidable opponents, including a former State Legislative candidate, a business owner, a two-term Mayor and a sitting County Commissioner.
The people have spoken clearly with their vote, why are some not listening?
Note: Willipa Harbor Behavior Health and their board members did not respond to questions or comments.