Overdose prevention and response
Public Health is addressing the opioid epidemic as we would any other health issue—working with partners to prevent overdoses, increasing access to treatment, and providing harm reduction services to reduce the health impacts for people with substance use disorder.
This site provides many connections to key drug and alcohol resources within Public Health, King County, and across our community. On this page you can:
Learn about resources to prevent the impact of opioids and other drugs
Find access to Needle Exchange services
Get connected to treatment and social support resources
Explore our local data
- King County Secure Medicine Return
King County residents can safely dispose of the medicines they no longer need by taking them to a drop-box located throughout King County.
- Opioid Medication & Pain: What You Need to Know (PDF)
Opioids can be the right choice for treating severe pain, such as from cancer or immediately after major surgery. However, medications such as Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin are very powerful and can be deadly.
- Find medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorder
A resource locator to find local clinics and programs that use evidence-based treatments to treat opioid use disorder.
- Find withdrawal management (detox) services
Detox is a medically supervised service with the goal of safely ensuring that people are stable coming off of alcohol or drug and then transitioning them on to the appropriate ongoing care. Detox length of stay is based on medical necessity, but usually lasts three to five days.
- Buprenorphine fact sheet
Buprenorphine (bupe) is a prescribed medicine that is used to treat addiction to heroin and other opiates. It treats withdrawal and reduces craving.
- King County Needle Exchange
Needle exchange programs provide new, sterile syringes and clean injection equipment in exchange for used, contaminated syringes. They also get drug users into drug treatment and health care.
- Find naloxone in Washington state
There are several ways to get naloxone in Washington state through prescriptions, directly through pharmacies and syringe exchange and community programs.
- Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Agency Training Guide
Tips on how what causes an overdose, how to recognize symptoms and what you can do.
- Emergency Dept. Naloxone Distribution
The first steps to setting up a community overdose education and naloxone distribution (OEND) program is to understand the local policies and regulations about standing orders, third party prescribing, collaborative practice agreements, Good Samaritan laws, and provider medication distribution.
- Naloxone prescribing practice guidelines
Information for clinicians and pharmacists to identify who should get naloxone, how to recognize and respond to an overdose and other recommendations.
- 2018 Overdose Death Report
The King County Medical Examiner's Office (MEO) investigates deaths that occur in King County that are unexpected, sudden, violent, suspicious, and/or lack a known cause. Drug overdose deaths typically meet at least one of these criteria and are thus investigated by the MEO.
- 2017 year-end summary on the current progress of implementation of Task Force Recommendations
- 2017 Overdose Death Report
- 2018 HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Report: Syringe Services
Public Health — Seattle & King County's Needle Exchange program is designed to reduce the spread of HIV and other blood-borne infections among people who inject drugs and their communities.
- HIV/AIDS Factsheet: People who Inject Drugs
- Buprenorphine pathways evaluation coming soon
- Naloxone Report coming soon
- King County Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force: Final Report & Recommendations
This report provides a summary of the group’s recommendations to both prevent opioid addiction and improve opioid use disorder outcomes in King County.
- 2018 Washington State Opioid Response Plan
Washington state is currently experiencing an opioid overdose epidemic. Since 2008, overdose deaths related to prescription opioids have steadily fallen while overdose deaths related to heroin have increased resulting in a stable rate of overdose deaths due to any opioid.
- Washington State Executive Order 16-09 - Addressing the Opioid Use Public Health Crisis
A directive from Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee to direct state agencies under his authority to implement the state opioid response plan with an immediate focus on its highest priority actions.
- Opioid prescribing rules
The Washington State Legislature passed a law in 2017 that focuses on improving opioid prescribing. and on monitoring. The law requires five healthcare professional boards and commissions to adopt new rules for prescribing opioid drugs.
- Patient Pain Management Resources
The Guideline is not intended to deny any patients who suffer with chronic pain from opioid therapy as an option for pain management. Rather, the Guideline is intended to ensure that clinicians and patients consider all safe and effective treatment options for patients.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.
- stopoverdose.org, Center for Opioid Safety Education
The Center for Opioid Safety Education at the University of Washington Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute offers education and technical assistance for individuals, professionals, and communities in Washington State who want to learn how to prevent and intervene in opioid addiction and overdose.
- Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, King County Dept. of Community and Human Services
Ensuring that people with mental health and substance use disorders receive the inpatient, outpatient and other services they need.
- Washington State Department of Health: Opioids
Implementing the State Opioid Response Plan and provides resources for providers and researchers
- Washington State Poison Center
Provides immediate, free, and expert treatment advice and assistance on the telephone in case of exposure to poisonous, hazardous, or toxic substances.
- Washington Recovery Help Line
Professionally-trained volunteers and staff provide emotional support for those experiencing substance use disorder, problem gambling, and/or a mental health challenge.
- Hepatitis C facts, Public Health — Seattle & King County
Includes a description about Hepatitis C with resources for the general public and health care providers.
New report released
The 2018 Overdose Death Report describes drug and alcohol-caused deaths investigated by the King County Medical Examiner's Office (MEO).