Opioid epidemic continues in Washington

Today’s post was shared by WC CompNewsNetwork and comes from www.workerscompensation.com

Olympia, WA (WorkersCompensation.com) – New Washington health data shows a significant drop in deaths from prescription narcotics in recent years. Tragically, the decline is offset by a doubling of the number of heroin deaths in our state during the same time. Both heroin and prescription narcotics are types of drugs known as opioids.

Data from 2014 state vital statistics records show the number of deaths from prescription narcotics has steadily dropped from a peak of 512 deaths in 2008 to 319 in 2014. At the same time, heroin killed 293 people in Washington last year, about twice as many as in 2008. Overall, the number of deaths from opioid overdose in Washington remains at about 600 a year.

“Across our state, we are seeing the terrible effects of heroin and prescription narcotics on our families, friends and communities,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “Although more must be done, we’ve made significant progress in reducing overprescribing of opioids, and with health care reform, a record number of families who just a few years ago had no medical coverage and limited means to regain their health, can now seek treatment for substance use disorders.”

Washington was one of the first states to recognize and respond to the national epidemic of deaths due to prescription narcotic overdoses. The decline in these deaths in Washington is likely in part due to groundbreaking prescribing guidelines originally developed in 2007 and updated this year.


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