- Be aware of an increase in drug overdose mortality – preliminary statewide 2021 data include 2,044 deaths compared to 1,731 in 2020 and approximately 1,200 in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Seventy-one percent of the 2,044 confirmed overdose deaths in 2021 involved an opioid.
- Preliminary local 2021 data include 41 drug overdose deaths among Kitsap residents, 26 (63%) involving an opioid. This is slightly lower than 2020, 43 drug overdose deaths, 33 (77%) involving an opioid.
- Be aware of a shift from unintentional to intentional fentanyl use and a shift toward smoking vs. injecting as reported in the 2021 WA State Syringe Services Program Health Survey conducted by the University of Washington Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute (ADAI).
- Be aware of a new Washington State law (2SSB 5195) effective 1/1/2022 which requires hospital emergency departments (EDs) and many certified and licensed behavioral health settings to distribute prepackaged naloxone to individuals at risk of an opioid overdose.
- Consider participating in the Transforming Our Communities conference June 7 and 8th, 8:30 am – 12 pm sponsored by University of Washington Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute (ADAI). The conference aims to share innovations to reduce harms for people who use drugs. See below for the conference flyer.
- Learn more about Health Equity in the Response to Drug Overdose in a free online training offered by National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO). The training is a 12-module course designed to guide health practitioners in their integration of fundamental health equity concepts and methodologies into their local drug overdose prevention and response efforts.
- Report COVID-19 and other Notifiable Conditions to Kitsap Public Health 24/7 by calling 360-728-2235 or use the Reportable Disease Fax Form and fax to 360-813-1168 with any corresponding lab results.
Drug overdose mortality statewide in 2021 has increased over previous years. Preliminary 2021 data include 2,044 deaths compared to 1,731 in 2020 and approximately 1,200 in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Seventy-one percent of the 2,044 confirmed overdose deaths in 2021 involved an opioid.
Kitsap preliminary 2021 data indicate a slight decrease compared to 2020; 41 drug overdose deaths, 26 (63%) involving an opioid compared to 2020, 43 drug overdose deaths, 33 (77%) involving an opioid.
2021 WA State Syringe Services Program Health Survey Results: In Washington state, 42% of respondents said they had used fentanyl in the previous 3 months, up from 18% in 2019. Illegally manufactured fentanyl is often counterfeited to resemble oxycodone pills. It is fast-acting and dangerously potent: 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. In 2020, fentanyl overtook methamphetamine as the drug most involved in overdoses in Washington state. Another important part of this shift is that the majority of people who use fentanyl today smoke it. This aligns with survey respondents’ reported high rate of smoking drugs broadly: 81% of respondents said they had smoked a drug (excluding tobacco and cannabis) in the previous three months.
The biennial Syringe Service Programs health survey is Washington state’s primary source for understanding substance-use patterns, health behaviors and needs of people who use syringe-service programs. Full press release is available from the UW Medicine Newsroom.
- Kitsap Public Health District Syringe Services Program page: https://kitsappublichealth.org/CommunityHealth/hs_exchange.php
- Washington state Department of Health Opioid information: https://doh.wa.gov/community-and-environment/opioids
- University of Washington Addictions, Drug and Alcohol Institute: https://adai.uw.edu/
- Kitsap Public Health District resource page for healthcare providers: https://providers.kitsappublichealth.org/