Narcan will no longer by funded by Snohomish County Human Services
Defunding of medication begins in January 2020
Last updated 9/20/2019 at 12:35pm
Snohomish County Human Services staff notified law enforcement partners in an email on June 28 that there will no longer be funding for the Opiate Overdose Prevention Project beginning in January.
Human Services had originally collaborated with law enforcement to develop the Opiate Overdose Prevention Project. In April 2015, the first naloxone/Narcan training began and naloxone was distributed to trained officers.
Naloxone is a prescription medicine that temporarily stops the effect of opioids. This helps a person start to breathe again and wake up from an opioid overdose. In Washington state, anyone who might have or witness an opioid overdose can legally possess and administer naloxone.
Naloxone attaches to the same brain receptors as opioids, but more strongly. Naloxone kicks off the opioids and “takes over” the receptors, causing opioid withdrawal. This restores breathing and consciousness in about 2-5 minutes.
According to law enforcement, Mill Creek has used zero doses of Narcan so far in 2019. In total, 120 doses of Narcan have been administered to overdoses in Mill Creek since 2015, adding up to $4,500 in costs for the kits.
For the remainder of 2019, Narcan deployed for a suspected overdose will be replaced, along with any that is expired. After Dec. 31, each law enforcement agency will be responsible for continuing to supply their personnel.
District staff also reached out to the Washington State Department of Health regarding its new naloxone distribution program for “leave-behind” kits. Rather than funding naloxone for first responders to use it directly on a patient, the DOH program could fund kits to be left with family members and bystanders for individuals who refuse transport following an overdose.
The DOH will be offering both nasal spray and injection kits, with needed supplies included. While the program is only funded by grants, there is a possibility they may only provide injection kits at some point.