Top Washington Prosecutors Call For New Strategy To Address Drug Addiction

Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe, left, and King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg say Washington state is failing to adequately address an epidemic of drug addiction. CREDIT: TVW
Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe, left, and King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg say Washington state is failing to adequately address an epidemic of drug addiction. CREDIT: TVW

Listen

Two of Washington state’s top elected prosecutors say the state is failing to adequately address an epidemic of drug addiction. They say it’s a major contributor to crime, but also to homelessness.

Mark Roe is the prosecutor in Snohomish County. He’s preparing to retire at the end of the year.

“The criminal justice system has really had no success at all in dealing with addiction,” Roes said. “Which I guess kind of makes sense because we’re not doctors or social workers.”

Roe’s office recently stopped prosecuting people for minor drug possession.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg says people who are addicted to drugs end up in jail and court by default because that system is already built.

“Do we want to treat drug addiction as a medical problem, as a public health crisis? If we do we have to build that response up and it’s not there right now,” Satterberg said.

Satterberg and Roe note there are diversion programs and drug courts that emphasize treatment over jail. But they say those alternatives don’t have the capacity to handle the drug epidemic.

Roe and Satterberg spoke with Austin Jenkins on TVW’s “Inside Olympia” program.

Copyright 2018 Northwest News Network

Related Stories:

In this April 11, 2019 photo, Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, listens to debate on the House floor at the Capitol in Olympia. Jinkins became the first woman elected House Speaker in Washington history on July 31, 2019. CREDIT: TED S. WARREN/AP

Rep. Laurie Jinkins Selected As First Woman House Speaker In Washington History

Washington House Democrats have selected Rep. Laurie Jinkins to serve as the state’s first woman speaker of the House. The historic vote today in SeaTac ushers in a new era in Washington politics following a 20-year reign by Frank Chopp of Seattle, who was the state’s longest serving speaker of the House. Continue Reading Rep. Laurie Jinkins Selected As First Woman House Speaker In Washington History

Read More »
Pedestrians walk in the rain near the Legislative Building, Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., as cherry trees display their spring blossoms. CREDIT: TED S. WARREN/AP

Claim Of ‘Coded’ Racism Prompts Calls For More Inclusivity At Washington State Capitol

In the month since Washington state Sen. Mona Das, a first-term Democrat from Kent, made headlines for comments about racism and sexism in the Senate Democratic Caucus, she has been calling her colleagues to apologize that her words “were as strong as they were.” Continue Reading Claim Of ‘Coded’ Racism Prompts Calls For More Inclusivity At Washington State Capitol

Read More »