Calling the regional heroin epidemic one of the major causes and consequences of homelessness, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced a task force Tuesday charged with finding ways to expand treatment, with a goal of providing it on demand.
At a news conference on Beacon Hill, Murray said city outreach workers and police officers have told him that hundreds of the people living on the streets and in unauthorized tent encampments are struggling with addiction.
“We can make a significant impact on homelessness if we make an impact on addiction,” Murray said.
“This wave is hitting every community across King County, sparing no race, no age, no neighborhood, no income level,” Constantine said.
The 32-member task force includes health and treatment providers, law enforcement, social-service agencies, cities and the University of Washington, including Caleb Banta-Green, a senior researcher with the UW’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute. The group will hold its first meeting this month and It is expected to report back in September.
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