North Everett’s 98201 Zip Code Leads In Snohomish County Heroin Related Deaths

January 27, 2015

Everett

Everett heroin

Click the photo to read the full report and its recommendations

The Snohomish Health District today issued a report that says heroin deaths are at epidemic levels in Snohomish County. The report says the 98201 zip code in north Everett and the 98271 Tulalip area zip codes experienced 39 such deaths from 2011 through 2013, or 27 percent of the total number of heroin-related deaths in the county. In contrast, each of these zip codes represents only 4 percent of the county population. You can read the full report here. For an overview, here’s a press release issued today from the Snohomish County Executive’s office…

Heroin and prescription opioid usage in our county is a serious problem. From 2011 to 2013, approximately one out of every five heroin deaths in the state occurred in Snohomish County, a county with only one-tenth of the total population in Washington. In 2013 alone, heroin and prescription opioid overdoses represented two-thirds of the 130 accidental overdose deaths in the county.

Recognizing the need to coordinate efforts, the Snohomish Health District and Snohomish County Department of Human Services recently partnered to look at what these statistics mean for our community.

“Opioid use, and heroin in particular, have become a persistent problem in Snohomish County,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, health officer for the Snohomish Health District. “This report demonstrates the need for multiple partners to intervene at targeted points.

As prescription opioids like oxycodone or hydrocodone were more tightly regulated beginning in 2008, drug users found heroin as a potent and inexpensive replacement. This trend of decreased opioid use and increased heroin use is also seen in local detoxification admission and outpatient treatment programs, and across both youth and adult demographics.

“This is happening right here in our community, and it’s a problem that requires us to work together in order to find meaningful solutions,” said Ken Stark, director of Snohomish County Human Services. “We need to move toward evidence-based practices if we want lasting change.”

Increased awareness of the Good Samaritan Law, additional detoxification capacity, and the evaluation of alternatives to incarceration are some of the ways county officials can begin to address this problem. Another is through the distribution of overdose reversal kits containing naloxone, also known as Narcan. Currently available at four pharmacies within the county, the Health District is rolling out a pilot program to distribute naloxone kits at the needle exchange sites in North Everett and Tulalip.

Goldbaum notes that “while preventing drug use or helping addicts quit is the best long-term solution, naloxone can save lives today.”

To view the full heroin use report, visit http://www.snohd.org/Records-Reports/Data-Reports.

Learn more about naloxone and the needle exchange at http://www.snohd.org/Diseases-Risks/Injection-Drug-Use.

About myeverettnews

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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