Cantwell Hosts Fentanyl Crisis Roundtable

First responders, community leaders, people personally impacted by the crisis share experiences

TACOMA, WA – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) held a roundtable discussion with first responders, community leaders, and people recovering from addiction about the fentanyl crisis.

“Joining Mayor Woodards to hear from the people who are living with the fentanyl crisis every single day - including people in recovery, behavioral health specialists, community support providers, and law enforcement was invaluable,” said Sen. Cantwell. “The best solutions often come from the people on the front line, and this is no different. Our communities need more tools to fight this scourge, and we need a task force approach that brings all our resources to bear on this epidemic.”

Participants included Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards; people personally impacted by the fentanyl crisis; and representatives from Tacoma Health Department, Recovery Café, Tacoma Fire Department, Tacoma Police Department, Pierce County District Court, Elevate Health, Tacoma Needle Exchange, the Puyallup Tribe, and the Tahoma Indian Center. The roundtable took place at Comprehensive Life Resources, a certified community behavioral health clinic in Tacoma.

In Pierce County, opioid-related overdose is now the most common cause of accidental death according to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, outnumbering motor-vehicle collisions and firearm deaths. There has been an 81.8% increase in Pierce County fentanyl related deaths, comparing the first half of 2022 to 2021.

Preliminary data released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects that the State of Washington experienced the second highest increase among U.S. states in reported drug overdose deaths from 2021 to 2022, an increase of 21.4%.  Nationwide, drug overdose deaths are projected to reach 109,680.