Opioid summit set Monday to review data, share potential solutions

KINGSTON — At a three-county opioid summit Monday, professionals from across the Olympic Peninsula will review opioid data from across the region and look for solutions to abuse of the drugs.

Officials will share the results of a five-month assessment and planning phase at the summit hosted by Salish Behavioral Health and Olympic Community of Health (OCH), said Elya Moore, executive director of OCH.

“We’ll share our understanding of the current state of the opioid epidemic in our region,” she said. “We hope to get a consensus on a path forward and to get everybody to agree how to address the problem.”

The summit, to be held at the Village Green Community Center in Kingston, is geared for professionals who work directly with the problem in Clallam, Kitsap and Jefferson counties, and is already booked to capacity, she said.

She expects prosecutors, members of law enforcement, clinic directors, paramedics and elected officials to attend.

Dr. Chris Frank, Clallam County health officer and OCH board member, said he anticipates some 250 people will attend the summit, which is sponsored by Amerigroup and Coordinated Care.

“In the short term, we’re looking at getting a shared understanding of the situation and some agreement on how we measure success,” he said.

Frank, who chairs the steering committee for the three-county opioid response project, said the project has three goals.

The first is to prevent opioid misuse and abuse by improving prescribing practices. The second is to treat opioid dependence by expanding access to treatment. The third is to prevent death by distributing naloxone to those who use heroin or are on high-risk opioids.

The opioid summit Monday marks the end of the first phase of the project, which included gathering information.

Frank said the group surveyed law enforcement, paramedics, medical providers and people who work with substance users.

Data released earlier this month showed Clallam County’s heroin and opioid epidemic affects people of all ages across the county.

Clallam County had 62 documented overdoses last year and at least six deaths.

The data was compiled as part of the three-county effort to fight the opioid epidemic.

What will come after the summit is the implementation phase of the plan, he said. Those who attend will be split into three task forces that will focus on the three goals.

Tom Locke, Jefferson County health officer, called the event an important step forward in fighting the opioid epidemic.

“All three counties are dealing with the impacts of what is appropriately being called the opioid epidemic, but we’ve been dealing with it in isolation,” he said.

“We’ve been doing our own thing to do the best we can to grapple the problem.”

Locke said Clallam, Jefferson and Kitsap counties are at the forefront of the response effort in the state.

He is hopeful the work being done will make more grant funding available to expand treatment in the region.

“The big gap in Jefferson County is in treatment,” he said. “It’s a treatable condition.”

Jefferson County, which was the second in the state to begin recording overdoses — the first was Clallam County — doesn’t yet have a year of data like Clallam, Locke said.

To date, there have mostly been “scattered reports,” and officials believe the data they have in Jefferson County are incomplete.

Locke said the epidemic is not as severe in Jefferson County as it is in Clallam County.

“Fortunately, we’re seeing less [than Clallam County], as best we can tell,” he said. “But we think things are going to get worse if we don’t do something about it.”

________

Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsula dailynews.com.

More in News

Crystal Heap of Lynden admires a lavender bouquet as her daughter, Lillian, 6, looks on at Old Barn Lavender Company near Sequim on Saturday, part of Sequim Lavender Weekend. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Fresh lavender in Sequim fields

Crystal Heap of Lynden admires a lavender bouquet as her daughter, Lillian,… Continue reading

District adding community paramedic

Program designed to help frequent 9-1-1 callers

“Remember Me,” the large-scale mural on the American Legion-Jack Grennan Post 62 hall, was unveiled at a public event on Saturday. (Melissa Klein)
American Legion mural displays World War I hero

‘Remember Me’ includes portrait of Jack Grennan

Sequim council enacts remote public comment procedure

Participants who want to speak remotely must sign in by 3 p.m. on meeting day

Operations scheduled at Bentinck range this week

The land-based demolition range at Bentinck Island will be… Continue reading

Weekly flight operations scheduled

There will be field carrier landing practice operations for aircraft… Continue reading

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Seattle, center, walks on a trail in Neah Bay with Tribal Chairman Timothy J. Greene Sr., left, and others. (Sen. Murray's office)
Murray tours West End facilities

Senator secured funding for road, medical center

Olympic Medical Heart Center director Leonard Anderson examines a new echocardiograph at the Port Angeles hospital facility. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Foundation donation aids OMC’s heart center

Echocardiogram machine to help more patients receive care locally

OMC providing facts about Proposition 1

Hospital sees $2.2M in savings following consultant tips

From left, Leland Gibson, Tucker Piontek and Jeff Matthews are lowered into the water aboard Fern, a Nordic folk boat commissioned by Michigan resident Charles Jahn, who was present to see his boat in the water for the first time on Friday at Port Townsend’s Boat Haven Marina. Fern was built over three years by three separate classes of students at The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding. (Elijah Sussman/Peninsula Daily News)
Boat launched in Port Townsend

From left, Leland Gibson, Tucker Piontek and Jeff Matthews are lowered into… Continue reading

Maya DeLano, executive assistant at Composite Recycling Technology Center, demonstrates the durability of recycled carbon fiber during a job fair on Friday organized by the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce at the Vern Burton Community Center. (Christopher Urquia/Peninsula Daily News)
Job fair in Port Angeles

Maya DeLano, executive assistant at Composite Recycling Technology Center, demonstrates the durability… Continue reading

Three generations of Bike the US for MS riders — from left, Michael Davies, Jordyn Davies and Richard Davies — visit the Sequim MS Support Group. (Sequim MS Support Group)
Bike the US for MS makes stop in Sequim

The Sequim Multiple Sclerosis Support Group continued its tradition of… Continue reading