North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

County has 37 overdoses in one week

 

August 16, 2017 | View PDF

Courtesy of the Snohomish Health District

This graph from the Snohomish Health Districts shows the number of overdoses July 17-23 in the county.

At least 37 probable overdoses occurred in Snohomish County from July 17 to 23 according to the Snohomish Health District's Point-in-Time survey.

The district reached out to local police, hospitals, medical providers and community members in July to ask for help in the survey.

"It started because a producer from Nightline got in contact with us for a segment that will air in the next week or two," said Heather Thomas, public and government affairs manager with the district.

Other jurisdictions across the country also participated in the survey.

The information was collected over a seven-day period and the district worked to see what information could be properly shared between the agencies and the public.

The Snohomish Health District is currently working with Providence Everett's emergency room to track the overdoses that move through there, but this effort involves working with a number of different agencies throughout the county.

According to the point-in-time survey of overdoes, 38 percent of the reported overdoses never called 911.

Many of those are overdoses that would be missed by just looking at emergency room data, said Thomas.

"We reached out to our partners, police chiefs, fire chiefs, hospitals," said Thomas.

They provided a form that those partners could fill out and return with the information about the overdoses.

Participating was voluntary, however "nobody declined and everybody was supportive," said Thomas.

The information is still all self-reported based on the agencies' judgements though.

There were a total of 37 overdoses likely related to opioids, according to the district, including three deaths in that time.

"I think it has some very eye-opening information," said Thomas.

"We hear how severe and complex the opioid epidemic is, and this starts to put some real concrete numbers and demographics to the problem," she said.

There are a number of trends in the data, such as 10 reported overdoses on Monday, half of the overdoses occurred between noon and 6 p.m., and half of the overdoses were for people between the ages of 21 and 30.

More data is necessary to get meaningful trends though.

"It will be interesting to see if these trends hold true if we get more real-time data," said Thomas.

The data from Snohomish County also showed an even split amongst genders, with 18 females and 19 males.

The youngest reported was 16 and the oldest was 52.

Seventy-three percent of those who overdosed were identified as white.

Naloxone was administered in 70 percent of the reports.

Thomas said that the district is working with their partners in other ways to fight the opioid crisis.

"This is just the beginning," she said. "We're having conversations with all of our partners about the best strategies to deal with these problems."

For more information about the Snohomish Health District go to snohd.org.

 

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