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Posted on: August 25, 2020

Opioid Outreach Work Continues in Snohomish County Despite COVID-19

Snohomish Overdose Prevention Logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
August 25, 2020

CONTACT:        
Heather Thomas, 425.508.4980
hthomas@snohd.org


Opioid Outreach Work Continues in Snohomish County Despite COVID-19

Partners announce new opioid data portals, federal grant award


SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Even with an all-hands response to the COVID pandemic, Snohomish County, the Snohomish Health District, and other partners continue to move forward with work focused on opioid use prevention, treatment and recovery.

Launch of Two New Data Hubs

Two data dashboards have been launched, providing information to help the community better understand the opioid epidemic in Snohomish County.

Working with LiveStories, the Snohomish County Opioid Response Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC) Group launched the portal available at https://snohomishoverdoseprevention.com/data/

The dashboard shows the changes and impacts communities are facing due to the opioid epidemic. Partner agencies in the ongoing opioid response efforts provided multiple data platforms that have been compiled into a responsive dashboard, and data will be updated where available on a quarterly basis.

The new data dashboard includes information on:

  • Overdoses and deaths
  • Community impacts
  • Treatment and recovery
  • Usage and prescribing practices

It’s important to remember that data from the Washington State Department of Health are considered preliminary for 2019 and 2020.

How to read the charts:

  • Arrows reflect the trend of the indicator. The trend is based on the recent observation compared to the prior observation.
  • Colors reflect if the trend is positive, negative, or neutral. Green is positive, grey is neutral, and red is negative.
  • Hovering the mouse over the tile chart allows the use to see numbers within the chart.
  • At the bottom of the charts is a “Metadata” section. This section provides the name of the indicator, a description, and the source of the data.

In addition to the LiveStories portal, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office has also created a dashboard. The Drug Overdose Dashboard includes data collected from the Expedited Drug Analysis Program (EDAP) within the Medical Examiner’s Office.

This dashboard is available at www.snohomishcountywa.gov/5655. It is interactive, allowing the user to generate reports by date of death, decedent age, drug type and class. The cases listed in this dashboard represent deaths caused by drugs and alcohol, where drugs and/or alcohol were identified as a primary contributing factor. This dashboard does not include deaths where drugs were found but did not contribute to the cause of death, such as a passenger in a motor vehicle collision who tested positive for methamphetamine. Because of the inherent private and secretive nature of drug use, the exact circumstances leading to fatal drug toxicity are often not clearly defined.

Grant Award to Help with Rural Communities

In May 2019, the Snohomish Health District was awarded $200,000 from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This funding was through the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP), specifically focused on planning

The program is part of a multi-year opioid-focused effort by HRSA for improving access to and recruitment of new substance use disorder providers; building sustainable treatment resources; increasing the use of telehealth; establishing cross-sector community partnerships; implementing new models of care, including integrated behavioral health; and providing technical assistance.

All activities supported by this program must exclusively target populations residing in HRSA-designated rural counties or rural census tracts in urban counties, and the consortium overall must be representative of rural entities. Within Snohomish County, the only two eligible census tracts are in the Darrington area, and parts of southeast Monroe, Sultan, Gold Bar, and Index.

The first deliverable for the Planning grant was to create a consortium with signed memorandums of understanding with partners. The current members are:

  • AIDS Outreach Project/Snohomish County Syringe Exchange
  • Community Health Centers of Snohomish County
  • Town of Darrington
  • Darrington Prevention and Intervention Community Coalition
  • Darrington School District
  • EvergreenHealth Monroe Recovery Center
  • Ideal Option
  • Monroe Community Coalition
  • Providence Regional Medical Center
  • Sea Mar Community Health Center – Monroe Behavioral Health Clinic
  • Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management
  • Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office
  • Snohomish Health District
  • Sno-Isle Libraries
  • City of Sultan
  • Sultan School District

In January 2020, HRSA released the funding announcement for the next phase for the RCORP programming. On August 6, staff received its notice of award for $1M effective September 1 for a three-year period, with the Snohomish Health District as the lead agency. These funds will be used to implement items identified in the consortium’s strategic plan developed earlier this year. All deliverables completed by the consortium can be viewed online here: https://snohomishoverdoseprevention.com/hrsa/

Virtual Overdose Awareness Candlelight Vigil 

Thousands in Snohomish County struggle with opioid use disorder, and too many are lost to overdose. More than 100 people in Snohomish County died of overdoses in 2019. Overdose is preventable and recovery is possible, with education, community and peer support, and treatment playing a crucial role in reducing stigma and saving lives.

International Overdose Awareness Day began in 2001 to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma around drug-related deaths. It also acknowledges grief felt by families and friends, and offers a chance to remember those who have died or suffered permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.

The 4th annual “A Night to Remember, A Time to Act” is aimed at providing people with information and resources, while working to reduce stigma around opioid-related deaths. This year’s event will also include alcoholism and other types of substance use disorders, to further bring awareness to how encompassing the disease truly is. This is particularly important given the impacts of COVID-19 and the need for connection—to people, resources, support and hope.

Originally created in memory of their sons Corey Lee and Spencer Warfield, the Lee and Warfield families have invited the community to a vigil and resource fair in previous years since 2017. Due to COVID, this year’s vigil and resources will be shared virtually.

Beginning at 6 p.m. on Monday, August 31, the event will be held on Zoom and Facebook Live. The theme for this year’s event is “Sobriety, Staying Sober and Hope.” This year’s event will give a father’s perspective on addiction and overdose awareness, share what is being done in the community, and provide hope that we can navigate uncertainty together. These things are more important than ever with the global pandemic. A special tribute video and candle lighting ceremony will also take place. Feel free to have a candle ready to light with us during this time.

The agenda and link to view the event online at www.facebook.com/events/214996109936721/

For more information on efforts being done through the Opioid Response MAC Group, please go to www.snohomishoverdoseprevention.com. This website and accompanying social media accounts were developed to be a one-stop shop for resources. Whether trying to understand the problem, prevent addiction, or save a life, this is a place to find information for that first next step.

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