Snohomish County Decides To Treat Opioid Crisis As Natural Disaster
Because it's that bad
November 21, 2017
(EVERETT, WA.) -- Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary and Snohomish Health District Health Officer Dr. Mark Beatty announced on Monday afternoon that the county's opioid crisis is so bad they've decided to treat it as a natural disaster.
Snohomish County leaders have been collaborating with partners and stakeholders over the last few months to develop a coordinated strategy necessary to address the drug crisis in the county, the scope of which Dr. Beatty said is, "Likely far greater than anyone can appreciate."
The three men came together to announce a 12-month action plan. Part of that plan was the declaration signed by Somers last week to partially activate the county's Emergency Coordination Center (ETC) because it provides more resources to agencies and governments to coordinate and communicate in order to more effectively battle the problem.
Snohomish County has taken a big hit from the opioid crisis. From 2012 to 2016 the County made up 14.5% of all opioid-related deaths in the state and just last month 25% of the county Medical Examiner's case load was suspected overdose deaths.
According to Sheriff Tenary, even though the crisis is causing a rise in crime "The idea of arresting our way out of this problem, quite frankly, has been debunked. Using our jail as the de facto mental health hospital or the drug treatment detox facility...has been proven not to work."
As part of the overall strategy to fight the crisis the county has put together a website with resources for all stakeholders, including citizens caught in the downward spiral of addiction. You'll find the website here .