According to recent statistics, prescription pain medications are now the leading cause of accidental death in Washington state – more than guns or car crashes. In 2015, an average of two Washingtonians died each day from opioid overdose, and heroin deaths more than doubled between the years 2010 and 2015.
Now, using a portion of an $11 million federal grant, the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) is continuing its work to combat the state’s opioid epidemic by launching a new prevention campaign, “Starts with One.”
“This campaign is an important component of a larger prevention and treatment strategy to combat the opioid use disorder epidemic gripping our state,” said Chris Imhoff, Director of the DSHS Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery.
“We all have critical roles in addressing the opioid crisis,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “Together we can improve the health of our communities by taking preventative steps in our homes and communities today as well as supporting loved ones who are seeking treatment and recovery.”
The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) received the grant in spring 2017. Provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the grant not only assists in implementing a statewide response plan, it also helps address key elements in Governor Jay Inslee’s Executive Order issued in October 2016 to fight the opioid crisis. In his order, Inslee expressed it was imperative that the state act in a comprehensive manner to address this public health crisis.
DSHS launched the campaign earlier this month, focusing on the premise that every Washingtonian can play a role in preventing opioid abuse.
The themes used in this multi-media campaign are “one act of kindness,” “one honest conversation” and “one simple step,” all of which are paired with specific actions people can take:
Young adults can share the facts of opioid abuse with their peers and talk with health care providers about other options for pain management when prescribed an opioid;
Parents can speak to their kids about the risks of opioids and tips on how to lock up or dispose of medications; and
Older adults and parents are encouraged to lock up and dispose of medications safely.
Learn more about the campaign and download materials at GetTheFactsRx.com. If you or a loved one has a substance use disorder and need help, please call the Washington Recovery Help Line at any time for free, confidential and emotional support as well as crisis intervention and referrals at 1-866-789-1511.