3 Top Counties in WA Where People Are Overdosing and Dying
Attorney General Bob Ferguson is urging the U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to include Everett, Spokane and Yakima in a federal initiative aimed at combating drug-related violence and overdoses. He wants the counties involved in “Operation Overdrive.” putting more resources into saving lives.
PEOPLE ARE OVERDOSING AT HIGHER RATES IN THE THREE COUNTIES
Federal statistics show Washington state had the largest percentage increase in drug overdose deaths in the nation from February 2022 through February 2023. Ferguson says Snohomish, Spokane and Yakima counties experienced higher overdose death rates than the statewide average over a three-year period from 2019 through 2021. Thus the reason for including the counties in "Operation Overdrive."
MONEY IS ALREADY FLOWING INTO THE STATE
“We must foster strong partnerships and share intelligence among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to focus our tools where they can have the most impact,” Ferguson says. “My office has recovered more than $1 billion and counting to combat the fentanyl epidemic, but more work is needed to identify and dismantle criminal drug networks.”
FERGUSON SAYS LIVES COULD BE SAVED IN THE COUNTIES
Ferguson says involving the three counties in "Operation Overdrive" could also benefit nearby communities. He says Everett's location on I-5 means it's a "deadly hub" for traffickers smuggling fentanyl from Mexico to British Columbia. The same problems exist in Spokane because of it's location. Ferguson says the "increased flow of fentanyl has also caused a disproportionate number of overdose deaths in Tribal nations close to Spokane and Yakima." So far 54 people have died of overdoses in Yakima County.
The federal money in the program is used to combat drug related violence and overdoses.