KING COUNTY, Wash. (KOMO) — The King County Medical Examiner’s workplace in Washington state is struggling to search out area to retailer our bodies attributable to spiking fentanyl overdose deaths.
Dr. Faisal Kahn, who’s the director of Public Well being Seattle & King County, mentioned preliminary knowledge exhibits 2022 will set a “heartbreaking report” for overdose deaths.
A lot of it’s pushed by fentanyl, sadly. Folks don’t understand they’re taking fentanyl as a result of it may be made to appear to be cocaine or prescription capsules,” Kahn instructed the King County Board of Well being.
Well being division knowledge exhibits 1,017 whole overdose deaths in King County in 2022, a 43% enhance from 2021, when the county recorded 709 overdose deaths. For comparability, in 2013 the King County Well being Division registered 318 overdose deaths.
Now we have choices for short-term morgue surge capability when our census rely will get excessive, together with storing decedents on post-mortem gurneys and partnerships with funeral properties. We’re exploring longer-term choices for including extra capability,” King County Public Well being officers wrote in a press release to KOMO. “Whereas the rise in deadly overdoses is a driving consider our morgue capability subject, it is not the one supply. Even Previous to the current rise in deadly overdoses we have been going through capability points because of the elevated quantity of deaths along with King County’s speedy inhabitants development.”
The county maintains a public overdose knowledge dashboard on its web site, which incorporates fentanyl overdose traits. In 2022, a mean of 57 individuals died in King County from fentanyl overdoses every month.
Kahn added that fentanyl is behind the alarming rise in deaths amongst Seattle’s homeless inhabitants.
December 2022 would be the highest month-to-month quantity ever recorded for homeless deaths,” Kahn mentioned.
Preliminary knowledge from the well being division exhibits 312 deaths amongst individuals experiencing homelessness in Seattle in 2022, up from 194 in 2021 and 196 in 2018.
King County Government Dow Constanine mentioned the county is working to increase drug therapy assets and rehabilitation choices within the county.
“The underlying, root causes which have resulted within the present overdose disaster are sadly not ones that will likely be reversed in a single day. However what we have seen time and time once more is that with the proper helps and care, individuals can and do get higher, they’ll heal and transfer ahead.That is why Government Constantine proposed, and the Council adopted, a rise in funding to increase entry factors for low-barrier therapy so that individuals will be related to efficient medicines.These medicines, corresponding to buprenorphine can scale back the chance of dying by over 50%,” Constantine mentioned in a press release. “The county can be growing funding to work with community-based organizations to increase the distribution of naloxone in weak populations, together with people who find themselves unhoused, and enhance entry to instructional supplies to scale back the dangers of overdoses. As well as, if handed by the voters, the Government’s proposed Behavioral Well being Crises Facilities Levy, which earlier this week handed out of the Council’s Regional Coverage Committee unanimously, will present a secure place in neighborhood particularly designed, outfitted, and staffed for behavioral well being pressing care.
KOMO beforehand reported on a Peer Seattle, a nonprofit group that distributes fentanyl take a look at strips to drug customers.
“One of many challenges with fentanyl just isn’t everyone is aware of they’re doing fentanyl. The fentanyl take a look at strips will let you dissolve a small quantity of the drug you’re utilizing in water like a pH strip it would inform you if there’s fentanyl in it,” mentioned Peer Seattle Director Christopher Archiopoli. “The disgrace and stigma are the most important boundaries to restoration. We have to change our techniques, cease anticipating a unique consequence from the identical options, these options aren’t working.”
The Washington Restoration Assist Line is an nameless and confidential assist line that gives disaster intervention and referral companies for Washington State residents. Professionally skilled volunteers and employees can be found to offer emotional assist 24 hours a day, and provide therapy assets for substance abuse, drawback playing and psychological well being, in addition to to different neighborhood companies.