EVERETT, Wash. – Health, law enforcement and other officials in Snohomish County are in the middle of a week’s long data collection period looking to track heroin and opioid overdoses across the county.
It’s only the second time officials in the North Sound have gathered data like this; the first happened in 2017.
One of the goal sof the survey is to figure out exactly how many people are overdosing -- to gauge the severity of the crisis, and figure out how to save more lives.
Similar to last year’s survey, for seven days in July hospitals, first responders and drug users are sharing detailed information about overdose cases.
Last year, drug overdoses killed more than 90 people in Snohomish County. This year, officials are saying the danger is just as real for those who abuse opioids.
“Five overdoses in the last two or three weeks from individuals who thought they were taking street drugs that were laced with fentanyl,” said Heather Thomas with Snohomish Health District.
The goal of this survey is to figure out exactly how many people are overdosing on drugs. It’s information that officials say they need to understand why so many are suffering from addiction.
Last year, the largest numbers of overdoses happened in Everett and also in Lynnwood, where a detox in-patient facility has doubled the area’s treatment capacity.
“That means a thousand more people a year will be getting a chance to start a recovery plan,” said Linda Grant, CEO of Evergreen Recovery Centers.
First responders like police and medics are still gathering their data – the point is to figure out who is likely to be mostly impacted by opioid overdose and where to funnel resources to keep users from dying.
“We are seeing more counterfeit pills that appear to be laced with fentanyl, so that’s something we’re working with our partners to get ahead of if we can,” said Thomas.
Once the count is complete, officials will compile the data and spend another few weeks analyzing what they have learned.