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Posted on: May 18, 2023

Health Department Leaders Support Holistic Plan to Address Impact of Drug Crisis on Snohomish County

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers on May 18, 2023, announced that he is advancing a holistic plan to address the impact the drug crisis is having on Snohomish County residents and businesses. First, he is issuing an Executive Directive, effective immediately, that coordinates a robust and collaborative response to the crisis. He is also transmitting a spending plan to the Snohomish County Council for the initial $1.4 million in opioid settlement funds Snohomish County received with a focus on a community-centered response.

Snohomish County Health Department Director Dennis Worsham 
“No agency can address this crisis alone. Substance use disorder is a public health issue, a safety issue, and a community issue. Above all, though, it is a human issue, and we can’t lose sight of the people – friends, family, neighbors, colleagues – who are directly affected. They deserve the resources and support to overcome the harms of substance use,” Health Department Director Dennis Worsham said. “We plan to increase data visibility to better understand gaps in our community and work with partners to fill those with low-barrier resources. Overdose deaths are preventable. With the Executive Directive and the spending plan, our joint efforts can accomplish more for the people of Snohomish County.” 

Snohomish County Health Officer Dr. James Lewis 
“Snohomish County continues to be disproportionately impacted by the opioid epidemic as compared to Washington State as a whole,” Health Officer Dr. James Lewis said. “Despite making overdose prevention work a priority, numbers are rising, and sadly we continue to see record-breaking totals of deaths. I can only imagine what the situation would be without the work being done across county government, first responders, healthcare, and the wider community. At this point, the epidemic is so wide-reaching that most of us have been affected personally or know someone who has been. The Health Department’s goal is to implement evidence-based approaches for reducing those suffering from substance use disorders, with increased access to preventive resources and recovery supports like medication-assisted treatment.” 

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