THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. — The Thurston County Board of Health announced Friday a plan was approved to address the opioid crisis.
After 11 months of planning, officials identified six goals and 25 response strategies.
Board of Health Chair John Hutchings said, "This is one of the greatest public health crises of our time and I'm proud that Thurston County is leading the way to take proactive steps to help those suffering from opioid addiction and stop this crisis in its tracks with the support of our task force and Thurston County's new opioid coordinator."
Some of the goals and strategies include:
• Prevent opioid misuse, abuse and dependency by improving prescribing practices.
• Treat opioid abuse and dependence through expanded access to treatment.
• Prevent deaths from overdose by working to educate and expand the distribution of naloxone to individuals who use drugs and educating individuals about the signs of an overdose.
• Use existing data and enhance data collection efforts to detect opioid and other illicit drug misuse/abuse and scientific evidence to inform the selection of strategies.
• Identify and implement innovative strategies that reduce the risk of overdose to individuals and diverse communities that are disproportionately impacted by the opioid epidemic and reduce stigma.
• Reduce exposure and access to opioids among infants, children, youth and families.
"This crisis touches every single one of us," said Schelli Slaughter, Thurston County Public Health and social services director and co-chair of the Opioid Response Task Force.
The plan was put together by 38 organizations and 91 individuals, which include representatives from law enforcement, local government and nonprofit agencies.
Thurston County prosecutor and co-chair of the Opioid Response Task Force Jon Tunheim said, "This plan offers an innovative and responsive way forward."
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