The National Governors Association today announced that 46 governors have signed on to a compact regarding efforts to fight the opioid epidemic. Dr. Gary Franklin, Medical Director for the state Department of Labor & Industry, UW researcher and chair of our state Agency Medical Directors Group, will be among those presenting at the NGA meeting this week in Iowa. Gov. Inslee issued the following statement:
“Opioid addiction is harming communities, people and families in every corner of our nation and our state. About 600 people die every year in Washington state from opioid overdose.
“While governors urge Congress to step up efforts to prevent inappropriate prescribing of opioids and provide more access to treatment and recovery support programs, we are taking significant steps – and plan to do even more – in Washington state to educate doctors and provide treatment services to patients in pain or who may be addicted to painkillers or heroin. I am proud that our health care leaders across the state have come together to try to solve this problem. One such leader, Dr. Gary Franklin, the chair of our state Agency Medical Directors Group, has been invited by my colleagues and will present our state’s leading work on this important issue at this week’s NGA meeting.”
Washington state was one of the first states to recognize and respond to the national epidemic of deaths due to prescription narcotic overdoses. The state Department of Health in November 2015 reported:
- State health agencies recently convened a group of health care providers, public health officials, and substance abuse experts to develop a statewide response plan to address the opioid epidemic. The group expects to complete the plan in the next few months.
- The state has set aside $6 million in new funding to treat opioid addiction, including medication-assisted treatment. Washington will also receive $3 million in federal funding to provide treatment services over the next three years. In addition, tax funding from retail marijuana sales will support an expansion in adolescent treatment and community-based prevention services.