EVERETT, Wash. — Tuesday was International Overdose Awareness Day and after a record number of overdose deaths in 2020, Snohomish County is reigniting its efforts to prevent them.
"So in Snohomish County, I've asked my staff to reflect on lessons learned, the situation and work on strengthening out efforts that have been successful; re-energizing our efforts and looking for new ways to help people over the coming years," said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers during Tuesday night's "A Night to Remember, A Time to Act Vigil."
In 2020, Snohomish County recorded a record 232 overdose deaths. The trend looks to be continuing for 2021, so far county data reports 178 overdose deaths.
"We've seen a huge up tick over the last year. The good news is by distributing Naloxone and getting that out into the community we also saved 805 people," Somers said.
Debbie Warfield and Cathi Lee, two Everett mothers who lost their sons to addiction, started the vigil five years ago. The vigil Tuesday night honored the victims while providing resources for families and those still struggling with addition.
"We started this vigil to raise awareness of overdose and to reduce to stigma of a drug-related death," Warfield said.
Warfield's son, Spencer, died nine years ago after an overdose on heroin. She said her son's addiction began as an athlete using prescription medication for pain.
Warfield told the crowd since they stated these vigils in 2016 overdose deaths have doubled in Snohomish County. She believes the increased prevalence of fentanyl has contributed to this trend.
"We have expanded out public awareness campaigns to target youth and young adults. We have continued Narcan trainings," Somers said. "Our goal is remember those who've we lost, but also working hard to save others in the future."