Curbing the opioid epidemic in Washington
Every day, an average of two Washington residents die from an opioid-related overdose. The Washington Legislature passed a bill (Senate Bill 5380) addressing the opioid epidemic by expanding treatment, prevention, and services for people affected by opioid use disorder and their families.
Key takeaways to be implemented:
Opioid use disorder will be recognized as a chronic medical condition to be treated using evidence-based treatment, such as medication-assisted treatment.
- The Secretary of Health will issue a standing order allowing agencies to possess, store, deliver, distribute, or administer naloxone.*
- Emergency Departments will be allowed to distribute emergency prepacks of naloxone.
- The Department of Health will establish a statewide Emergency Medical Services data system and provide data identifying individuals at risk of a fatal overdose and connect them to treatment services.
- The Department of Health is expanding efforts to integrate the Prescription Monitoring Program with electronic health records — and require prescribers to use integrated systems.
- We will support policies and treatment for pregnant and parenting people while keeping families together.
- Therapeutic courts and law enforcement assisted diversion programs will support medication-assisted treatment for incarcerated people.
The opioid crisis is negatively impacting the health of so many in Washington and requires a comprehensive action plan. The legislation has taken an all-encompassing approach, providing and advising key health agencies to make opioid concerns a statewide priority. This bill represents a positive step towards curbing the opioid epidemic.
*Naloxone is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent overdose by opioids. It blocks opioid receptor sites, reversing the toxic effects of the overdose.