In response to the increase in opioid related deaths between 2010-2016, Mason County Community Services began work to reduce opioid overdose deaths in Mason County in 2016.
Currently, the Mason County Opioid Response is funded by three main sources. The ‘Prescription Drug Overdose’(PDO) grant from the Washington State Department of Health, the ‘Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program’ (COAP) grant funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the Medicaid Transformation Project grant funded by Cascade Pacific Action Alliance (CPAA).
In 2017, opioid overdose death rate decreased to 4.8 per 100,000, from 13.7 per 100,000 in 2016 (1). Although it is too soon to assume any causation between the decrease in opioid overdose death and the efforts of Mason County Community Services, the results are promising.
Naloxone is a medication designed to reverse opioid overdose (2). It is an opioid antagonist—meaning that it binds to opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of opioids (2). There are three FDA-approved formulations of naloxone: injectable, auto-injectable and nasal spray (2). Mason County is currently distributing the nasal spray version to law enforcement, fire, EMS, and residents who are at risk or in contact with someone who is at risk of overdose.
Naloxone has also been distributed to the following agencies in Mason County: Department of Corrections-Mason County Field Office, Mason County Jail Staff, Mason County Sheriff's Office, Mason County Courthouse Security Staff, Shelton Police Department, Skokomish Police Department, Mason County Fire Districts #1, #3, #4, #12, #13, #16, #17, #18, Turning Pointe, Northwest Resources, Consejo Counseling and others.
More than Just an Opioid Response
Although this project began in response to the opioid epidemic in Mason County, we recognize that other types of substance use exist and are committed to working with all individuals to provide harm reduction services, treatment resources, and ultimately eliminate death due to substance use.
In November, Mason County Public Health began a Substance Use Mobile Outreach Program that aims to target substance users in Mason County. The goals of the program are to provide access to community health resources and treatment options, harm reduction supplies to injection drug users, wound care, and overdose prevention training and naloxone.