Calling the state’s number of opioid deaths a “public health crisis,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee is looking for solutions.
On average, two people in Washington die every day from opioid-related overdoses.
That’s more than the number of people killed in car crashes, according to the Washington State Patrol.
During a panel discussion with state agency heads Wednesday, Inslee turned to a King County Social Worker for her advice.
“Could you take a minute and talk about the power of recovery,” Inslee asked Thea Oliphant-Wells, a King County social worker, who said she has opioid use disorder.
“I was homeless,” said Oliphant-Wells, “as well as injecting heroin.”
But she told the governor she received help at a needle exchange.
She credits a social worker with getting her a voucher for a place to live, along with counseling for mental health.
“It’s never just one thing, it’s everything,” said Oliphant-Wells.
During Wednesday’s discussion, state officials told Inslee treating those with opioid use disorder with medication and having more resources available across the state can help reduce overdose numbers.