Seattle has put a plan into motion to open the nation’s first safe-injection facility for intravenous drug users. Many people feel this will encourage drug usage, but I don’t believe that.

Europe has had these facilities for several years and allow IV drug users to come in and use in a monitored environment with clean supplies and drugs necessary to reverse an overdose available.

These facilities save lives in many ways, from preventing disease to reversing an overdose to even leading addicts toward treatment.

In 2015 over 33,000 people in the United States died from opioid overdoses. We have a widespread issue with opioid addiction that has started essentially within the pharmaceutical arena.

Someone gets an injury, is prescribed pain pills for too long, then once their prescription is cut off, they look for the same high that they got with the pain medication and often turn to heroin because buying pain pills off the streets is significantly more expensive.

Right now these facilities are not legal under federal law, but if the supporters of these clinics could lobby half as well as the pharmaceutical companies do, then they should be able to get their way in no time.

I am in no way, shape or form condoning drug use. I think it’s a terrible struggle that too many Americans face. But I do feel that if a private organization that isn’t taxpayer funded wants to be able to take care of addicts instead of treating them like criminals, then they should be able to do that.

With clinics like these safe-injection facilities for intravenous drug users you will see a reduction in the spread of Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS, and most importantly in the amount of fatal drug overdoses.

Clinics like this also will actively encourage users to pursue treatment and not just let people come in, get high and kick it out the door.

This wouldn’t be like a day spa for junkies but instead a place where an addict can come have medical support, which includes counseling.

The opposition is fierce, but from my research, these clinics also are met with abundant support.

I would love to hear some feedback on this if you all have any.

Amanda Long is a freelance writer for The Gazette-Virginian.