Mason County has been disproportionally affected by opioid use compared to other counties. From 2012-2016 the rate of death from all opioids in Mason County was higher than the state of Washington (14.7 and 9.3 per 100,000, respectively) (1).
Note: Age adjustment, also called age standardization, is a technique used to allow populations to be compared when the age profiles of the populations are quite different.
Between 2010 and 2016 the opioid overdose death rate in Mason County increased from 6.4 per 100,000 in 2010, to 13.7 per 100,000 in 2016 (1).
Although Grays Harbor and Jefferson counties demonstrated a higher average overdose death rate compared to Mason County between 2007 and 2017; the average overdose death rate in Mason County was higher than the state's rate and the rate's of two neighboring counties: Thurston and Kitsap counties (1).
Overdose Reporting and Hospitalization
In February of 2017, Mason County's Health Officer made overdose a notifiable/reportable condition to the health department. That year 19 overdoses were reported to the health department. Of those 19, 17 were opioid overdoses and 2 were non-opioid (other substance). Unfortunately, 5 of those opioid overdoses resulted in death. Thus far in 2018, there have been 34 overdoses reported to the health department, with 22 being opioid overdose and 12 being non-opioid (other substances). Fortunately, through August 31st 2018, no reported overdoses this year have resulted in death.
In addition to causing death, opioid use disorder can result in serious medical conditions with life long effects like heart attack, stroke and coma (3). Such conditions can result in emergency department visits and hospitalization in the most serious cases. Most recently in 2017, there were 22 separate hospitalizations events that occurred as a result of opioid overdose in Mason County (1). The year 2016 also showed a high rate of hospitalization at 24 separate events (1).
Mason County has a higher average age-adjusted rate of opioid overdose hospitalizations, compared to the State of Washington and Thurston, Kitsap and Jefferson Counties (1). Grays Harbor has the highest age-adjusted opioid overdose rate (1).
(1) Community Health Assessment Tool – CHAT. Washington State Residents Drug Overdose Quarterly Report, 2017
(2) National Institute on Drug Abuse, Opioid Overdose Reversal with Naloxone https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/opioid-overdose-reversal-naloxone-narcan-evzio
(3) National Institute on Drug Abuse, Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/addiction-health