Community Efforts

The community identified opioids as a public health crisis in 2015. Opioids and other substance misuse have impacted (and continue to impact) our communities including medical practices, emergency services, public safety, schools and most importantly, families. Through collaborative efforts, the community is now better situated to respond to the crisis than it was five years ago—WE ARE MAKING PROGRESS.

 

  • Over the last four years (January 2016-April 2020), we’ve distributed more than 2,081 Naloxone kits, the medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
  • Families are learning about the risks of opioids and other substances through social media, outreach materials and CPWI coalition efforts.
  • Those needing access to Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD), the standard of care for those with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), now have multiple agencies ready to help them.

 

Skagit County Public Health, the Population Health Trust and several other community organizations have been working for five+ years to create strategies and actions that increase prevention, decrease nonfatal and fatal overdoses, and expand care coordination and treatment, including MOUD.

The Opioid Workgroup Leadership Team (OWLT)

In 2015, Skagit County embarked on a Community Health Assessment process in collaboration with the Population Health Trust. The community at large resoundingly identified the opioid crisis as their greatest concern. Therefore, the Opioid Workgroup Leadership Team (OWLT) formed under the initial guidance of the Population Health Trust in July 2016.

 

The Opioid Workgroup Leadership Team (OWLT) was a voluntary group of committed partner organizations and individuals representing hospitals, clinics, treatment and recovery agencies, law enforcement, public health/government agencies and families.

 

The OWLT was charged with:

  • Understanding the scope of the opioid problem in Skagit County
  • Understanding what was being done throughout the community to address the problem
  • Identifying opportunities to do more
  • Developing an action plan

 

An action plan was presented to the Board of Health on December 13, 2016, after six months of work by the OWLT. The leadership team identified four main goals:

  1. Prevent opioid misuse & abuse
  2. Treat opioid dependence
  3. Expand access to and utilization of Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD)
  4. Prevent deaths from overdose.

 

Over the last four plus years, this group continuously worked towards the vision of a holistic support system for those with opioid/substance use disorders in all of Skagit County. In 2021, OWLT had exhausted the work defined in the action plan (listed above) and it was decided that the OWLT would end.

ACHIEVEMENTS
Goal 1: Prevent Opioid Misuse
Passed the Secure Medicine Return ordinance
Developed a Secure Medicine Return program which consists of ~30 drop boxes/kiosks and mail-back distribution sites
Bi-annual Drug Take Back Day events
Added two prevention coalitions—Sedro-Woolley RISE and MVHope
Completed 50+ community education/stigma reduction presentations
Spotlight Film Festival public presentation and viewing of “Written Off”
Created an Opioid Resource Guide and this SkagitRising website
Distributed educational materials including flyers, brochures, PSAs, and social media posts
Goal 2: Treat Opioid Dependence
Expanded MOUD treatment options in the community and in the Skagit County Community Justice Center (see Goal 3 for examples)
Hosted/co-hosted conferences including Solutions to Addiction, Pregnancy and Beyond, and more
Increased opioid street outreach services and recovery care coordination programs
Goal 3: Expand Access To and Utilization Of Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD)
didgwálič Wellness Center
Ideal Option expanded capacity through additional waivered prescribers and adding a 24/7 nurse line/chat feature
Pioneer Center North Opioid Program
Lifeline Connections AND the expansion of MOUD to East County
MOUD maintenance and induction in Community Justice Center
Goal 4: Prevent Deaths from Overdose
Passed the Overdose a Notifiable Condition ordinance
Expanded distribution of Naloxone (Narcan®).
Skagit Regional Hospital implemented protocol for providing Narcan at discharge
Fentanyl test strips are available at the Mobile Syringe Exchange.

Community Prevention & Wellness Initiative (CPWI) Coalitions

CPWI is a partnership of state agencies, counties, schools, and local prevention coalitions supporting communities in preventing alcohol and other drug misuse and its negative consequences. CPWI priorities include reducing underage drinking, marijuana use and opioid misuse/abuse among middle and high school aged youth.  By providing evidence-based practices and promoting the positive changes in communities, we can build healthier communities.

Burlington Health Community Coalition 

The current mission of BHCC is to support and promote healthy environments and opportunities for all youth to gain skills and receive positive recognition to prevent and reduce youth substance use. The BHCC is a partnership of schools, families, and community members representing the diversity of the broader Burlington area. They currently meet monthly on Zoom and everyone is welcome.

 

If you have questions or would like to know more, please reach out the Liz Wilhelm at Liz.Wilhelm@UnitedGeneral.org. You can also follow them on Facebook.

Concrete Resource Coalition 

Serving all East County communities  

The goal of the coalition is to develop and implement ways to respectfully meet the needs of youth, families, and individuals through collaboration, networking, and building community relationships. The group has been responsible for putting on amazing events like Concrete Youth Activity Day, helping to bring the Boys and Girls Club to the community, and partnering with schools and service agencies to strengthen community resources.

 

For the time being, all meetings are held online from 2:00-3:30pm on the third Thursday of the month.

 

If you have questions or would like to know more, please reach out to Marlena White at 360-854-7179 or Marlena.White@UnitedGeneral.org. You can also follow them on Facebook.

MV Hope

Mount Vernon: Health Outcomes through Prevention Efforts 

This Coalition’s mission is to build alliance that inspires hope, engages the community, and develops/implements strategies to prevent and reduce opioid and other substance use in Mount Vernon youth.

 

MV HOPE works to implement opioid and other drug prevention through a community-based approach. The Coalition funds direct service programs and environmental strategies that are proven to reduce substance use in youth. The Coalition serves the geographical reach of the Mount Vernon School District. To learn more, visit the MV HOPE website.

 

The coalition meetings are open to all community members, those who live and/or work in the Mount Vernon school district and are held on the third Wednesday of each month at 3pm. New members are always welcome. If you have questions or would like to know more, please reach out to Bethany Sparkle at 360-419-9058 or b.sparkle@skagitymca.org, or message them on Facebook.

Sedro-Woolley RISE

Rallying to Inspire Safe Environments 

The coalition’s mission of reducing youth substance use and building a healthy Sedro-Woolley where all youth thrive includes working in conjunction with the WISH Club. RISE sponsors helpful trainings, works on local policies, provides resources to schools, develops campaigns, and more!

 

Coalition meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month from 3:00-5:00pm on Zoom. Sedro-Woolley RISE is a partnership of United General District #304 and the Sedro-Woolley School District, with funding provided from the federal Drug Free Communities grant program and Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative.

 

If you have questions or would like to know more, please reach out to Danika Troupe at Danika.Troupe@UnitedGeneral.org. You can also follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

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