Washington’s Gov. Jay Inslee issued an executive order today that brings together state agencies, local public health organizations, law enforcement, tribal governments, and other partners to act on opioids. The executive order identifies key aspects of the state’s current opioid response plan that can be implemented immediately as part of a strategic statewide effort to prevent opioid use disorder and overdose deaths.
The executive order was announced at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle with more than 100 county and city leaders, medical professionals and families impacted by opioid use disorder. Dr.’s Liebelt and Garrard were two of the health professionals who stood with the Governor during his remarks to extend our support for and participation in a Statewide Opioid Response Plan. Governor Inslee’s remarks highlighted the urgency required to address this public health crisis, and we are ready to act and collaborate, starting with sharing below our statement of support:
The Washington Poison Center has been providing free, confidential treatment guidance and information on poisons, medications, and overdoses to the residents and healthcare providers of Washington for over 50 years. Services are available 24/7/365 with poison experts – pharmacists, nurses and doctors – handling all types of medication related situations, questions and interactions. Improper use, storage, and disposal of medication contributes to the misuse, abuse, and addiction fueling the opioid epidemic. Medication safety is one of the core programs and messages of poison prevention, and our outreach to both the general public and healthcare providers reaches tens of thousands of people each year. Specifically, as the new host of the state’s TakeBackYourMeds.org drug take-back location website, we are extending our commitment to combat this epidemic by increasing the importance of safe drug disposal education in our outreach. As poisonings and overdoses have risen to claim the title of number one cause of unintentional death in Washington, now more than ever, the Washington Poison Center’s expertise can influence the landscape of public health and save lives.
The Washington Poison Center supports the coordinated and collaborative action of Washington State to respond to the opioid epidemic. With a mission to reduce the harm from poisonings, the Washington Poison Center is committed to work with state leaders to provide expertise in the field of clinical toxicology and overdose. With hundreds of calls made daily to the 1-800-222-1222 poison helpline in Washington, we are in a unique position to detect overdose trends as they are happening. The Washington Poison Center is committed to supporting our public health partners and the Governor in combating this concerning trend afflicting our state and nation.