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To confront the region’s growing heroin and opioid epidemic, the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force recommends a comprehensive strategy that focuses on prevention, increasing access to treatment on demand and reducing the number of fatal overdoses.

The problem

King County, like many places across the country, is seeing sharp increases in the use and abuse of heroin and prescription opiates.The rate of addiction is high and availability of treatment has not kept pace with the need.   

On March 1,2016, King County Executive Dow Constantine hosted a news conference to announce the formation of a heroin and prescription opiate addiction task force. Serving as co-conveners of the task force were Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus, and Renton Mayor Denis Law. King County Sheriff John Urquhart also participated in the news conference, along with community leaders on the front lines in the fight to reduce opiate addiction, overdose and deaths.

Task Force meetings took place over a period of six months and their efforts included hosting a well-attended community meeting in Renton in May 2016 to gather public input to inform their recommendations. Their final report and recommendations were provided to the conveners in September 2016.

The Task Force is continuing to meet, both as a body and in small subcommittees to move the recommendations forward in 2017.

Download the task force's full report.

Download (PDF) If the document does not open in your browser, right-click and "Save as".



Download a printable PDF version of all four infographics together: Download (PDF)


Join us for lively conversations about the opiate epidemic. The schedule:

Learn about the range of recovery options (social supports, counseling and medications) and the outcomes of each approach. The King County Heroin and Prescription Opioid Addiction Task Force will discuss emerging strategies that emphasize harm reduction and low barrier access to treatment to support individuals on a path of life-long recovery.

  • Federal Way Library, Wednesday, February 22, 7pm
  • Auburn Library, Thursday, April 20, 7pm

In response to the crisis levels of heroin and opioid use in King County, the County Executive and mayors of Seattle, Renton and Auburn convened the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force in March 2016. The Task Force developed recommendations that included strategies to prevent opioid use disorder, prevent overdose, and improve individual access to treatment and support services. Final recommendations were issued on September 15, 2016. Join the conversation, share your goals for community health and safety, and hear members of the Task Force explain more about these recommendations as we seek to address the opioid crisis in King County.

  • Bellevue Library, Saturday, March 11, 3pm

Compassionate care must be provided where needed, when needed, and in ways that work for all people based on their individual treatment needs. Join the discussion and learn how innovative harm reduction and low barrier approaches helps people begin their journey in the recovery process.

  • Kirkland Library, Thursday, March 23, 7pm

Join a conversation about the complex issues that contribute to and compound the opioid crisis. Learn what communities can do to address the problem. Through the power of conversation, communities can diminish stigma and create positive change.

  • Renton Library, Saturday, April 1, 1pm

The power of healing is held within the frame of personal stories. Join the conversation to understand how communities can best meet the needs of individuals suffering from opioid use disorder, provide support and paths to life-long recovery.

  • Kent Library, Saturday, April 8, 2pm

Learn the risks and benefits of prescription opioids for pain management and how to reduce those risks for yourself, your loved ones and the community.

  • Shoreline Library, Thursday, April 27, 7pm

Document library

Friday, March 25, 2016   Agenda  Meeting Summary

Friday, April 22, 2016      Agenda    Meeting Summary

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - Community Conversation on Heroin and Opiate Addiction

Friday, June 3, 2016    Agenda    Meeting Summary

Friday, July 29, 2016, 1-4 p.m., Seattle City Hall, Bertha K. Landis Room

Friday, Aug, 26, 2016 (cancelled)

Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, ​1-4 p.m., Seattle City Hall, Bertha K. Landis Room  Agenda

Contact Us

Phone 206-263-9000

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Fax: 206-296-0583