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New booklet to inform on opioid epidemic goes public

SNOHOMISH COUNTY — As the opioid epidemic advances, with 57 overdoses and two deaths reported in a single week this summer, the Snohomish Health District is helping people fight back with a new resource guide.
The guide “10 Things to Know About Opioids” contains information on overdoses, hotlines, treatment, crisis support, counseling and recovery groups; programs and service providers; housing support; outreach services for veterans; and efforts geared toward reaching young people.
“There’s practical advice on securing pain medications so they don’t wind up in the wrong hands, and options for safely disposing prescription drugs when they are no longer needed. The guide also explains how addiction affects people, how best to talk with those in your life who are at risk and where to obtain naloxone — a life-saving opioid overdose reversal medication,” according to the district.
Some 20,000 copies were published, many distributed at county libraries, senior centers, clinics and government agencies. The guide’s also online on when following the Find Treatment link.
One man shared firsthand how helpful the guide could be to individuals and families combatting addictions.
When Jason Sanders of Snohomish discovered his mother’s opioid addiction, he began a complex battle surrounded by stigma that was compounded by difficulty accessing services.
Reflecting on the struggle, he could appreciate the new guide even more.  “What I really loved was it covered so many different topics on the spectrum,” Sanders said.
From seniors to children, Sanders saw how addiction could ensnare anyone. His mother became addicted after receiving a prescription for pain.
Sanders found, even for those who’ve dealt with opioid addiction, there are things to be learned from the guide. “Shoot, I had kids over all the time,” and didn’t think about them grabbing pills from the medicine cabinet like “the hydrocodone from getting my teeth pulled.”
The guide shares several scenarios, which many people only learn about after addiction has taken hold, providing tips for prevention as well as treatment.
The genesis of the novel booklet was feedback from opioid forums in 2016 where residents said they didn’t know where to get information on the deadly drugs. That led to the creation of the Snohomish Overdose Prevention website one year ago, and the Sept. 1 launch of the print and online guide.
“It’s been an evolution of projects, as we peel back the layers to see what’s most needed,” said Health District spokeswoman Heather Thomas.
Sanders would also like to see a guide focusing on all types of addictions, but for now he said “I think it is great” that “it is getting easier to help people if they are ready.”
People can dispose of their old medicines at police departments and other locations outlined in the guide.
The direct link to the guide is at
To get a stack of copies, email to arrange for pick-up.



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