August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day. With more than 52,000 overdoses in the U.S. in 2015, this day represents a time for us to remember those who have prematurely lost their lives, and to commit to taking action to address the opioid crisis. Given the impact of this crisis on our community, it is likely that we have all been touched by this issue or know of someone who prematurely lost a loved one to an overdose.
There are a number of efforts underway across the state to address the opioid crisis. In 2017, the governor signed into law HB 1427, which, among other things, establishes an overdose event notification program. Once implemented, this program will notify a patient’s primary care provider and any prescriber of an opiate when a patient presents to a hospital emergency department with an overdose event.
This program will be a huge improvement over the status quo and will give providers tools and data to prevent future overdose events. This legislation was in response to a collaborative effort on behalf of the Washington State Department of Health, Washington State Medical Association and WSHA, who are now focused on implementing the new law. (Ian Corbridge)