Drug overdose in Washington is a serious public health crisis.

Nationally, over 300,000 people have died from prescription and illicit opioids in the last 15 years. That's about 55 people per day. In Washington:

  • 68% of overdose deaths are from opioids;
  • 36% of injury deaths in 2022 were from overdoses;
  • 7% of all EMS visits were due to suspected drug overdoses.

How do Benton and Franklin Counties stack up?

The Tri-Cities and surrounding areas have numbers below the state average:

  • 27% of injury deaths were from drug overdoses;
  • 7% of hospitalizations were from overdoses;
  • 3% of emergency department non-fatal visits were from suspected overdoses.

You can look at the data for Washington yourself, thanks to the Department of Health.

The Washington State Department of Health offers the Opioid and Drug Overdose Data dashboard that includes county data on hospitalizations and deaths due to overdose of opioids. This tool presents updated information in an easy-to-understand format, which will be more accessible to the public.

94.5 KATS logo
Get our free mobile app

How often is data updated in the dashboard?

The information is updated quarterly to include death certificates and hospital discharge information. This data takes about 12-14 months to process, so currently, it is available up through the 2022. The data can be used to examine opioid morbidity and mortality due to drug overdose in the state.

How can I help?

Many opioid overdoses can be treated by naloxone (Narcan), which can be legally possessed by anyone who might encounter an overdose situation and can be ordered without a prescription at any pharmacy. Washington has made moves to implement free dispensers in many of its jails and affected communities. It's recommended that everyone have this available in their first aid kits.

Narcan nasal spray
Getty Images

READ MORE: Researchers working on vaccine to prevent drug overdoses

If you're a parent, it's important to be able to know how to recognize drugs in case your child is offered them or brings them home. Here's a useful guide.

Parents Should Familiarize Themselves with These Illegal Drugs

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to recognizing and understanding when your child becomes involved with illegal drugs.

Gallery Credit: Cindy Campbell

Unfortunately a lot of unhoused people are affected by addiction.

12 Washington Counties with the Worst Homeless Problems

These 12 Washington State counties have the highest number of homeless in a new 2022 report.


More From 94.5 KATS