OLYMPIA, Wash. - Health officials are asking people to carry medicine, naloxone, to reverse the effects of an overdose if they plan on consuming any drug not purchased at a pharmacy or cannabis dispensary.
The new message from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is because overdose rates are on pace to break another record in 2021.
DOH said preliminary data shows 418 overdose deaths in the first three months of 2021 compared to 378 overdose deaths in the first three months of 2020. Of the 418 overdoses, 46% are linked to fentanyl.
The increase in overdose deaths is highest among groups dealing with inequitable health outcomes. Another trend showing a higher young adult mortality rate. Of the fentanyl-related deaths, 55 were under 30 years of age.
Health officials want community members to be aware of blue pills marked with “M” and “30” that are being marketed as prescription opioid medication. These pills most likely contain some amount of illicit fentanyl, and their purity and potency can vary widely.
Local law enforcement sounding the bell about fentanyl-laced drugs in early June due to an uptick of overdoses. From May 13 through May 21, five people died from laced pills in Kootenai County.
Anyone who uses drugs is strongly advised to carry two doses of naloxone that can reverse an overdose.
DOH said assume that any substance that you do not purchase at a pharmacy or cannabis dispensary contains fentanyl.
For resources on the dangers of fentanyl click here. To reach the narcotics anonymous hotline, call (800) 543-4670.