Opioid prevention campaign kicks off in Washington

Initiative shines light on the risks of prescription opioid addiction and overdose

Washington State is currently experiencing an opioid abuse and overdose crisis involving prescription opioids and heroin. In 2015, more than 700 individuals died from an opioid-related overdose. This high mortality is due to the increase in heroin overdose deaths even though prescription opioid overdose deaths have decreased.

The largest increase in heroin overdose deaths from 2004 to 2014 occurred among younger people ages 15 to 34 years. According to a recent statewide survey of syringe exchange clients, 57% of those who inject heroin said they were “hooked on” prescription opiates before they began using heroin.

“It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.”   – Agnes Repplier

The Washington State Department of Health will launch a statewide campaign this summer to warn about the dangers of opioid prescriptions.

Since 2000, over 10,000 people in Washington have died from an opioid overdose and there have been more than 17,697 opioid overdose hospitalizations.

“This crisis is tragically affecting our family members, friends and communities. We need to do everything we can to make sure people understand that prescription opioids can quickly lead to dependence, addiction, and deadly overdose,” says Dr. Kathy Lofy, state health officer.

Sometimes the way out of a difficult situation is the most unexpected way. This Tacoma alley graffiti captures the frailty of the journey out of addiction. Photo: Morf Morford

Sometimes the way out of a difficult situation is the most unexpected way. This Tacoma alley graffiti captures the frailty of the journey out of addiction. Photo: Morf Morford

Through compelling personal accounts, the campaign helps make everyone aware of the risks and dangers of prescription opioids and delivers a thought-provoking message: “It only takes a little to lose a lot.”

With funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the campaign will focus on the hardest hit and most rural counties. Find more information on Washington’s Opioid Response Plan, overdose prevention, or treatment resources or the upcoming campaign.

The DOH website (https://www.doh.wa.gov/) is your source for a healthy dose of information.

- WA Department of Health

 

“Sometimes you can only find Heaven by slowly backing away from Hell.”                                        – Carrie Fisher