Snohomish County is at “the epicenter” of heroin use in Washington state, County Sheriff Ty Trenary told members of the Lynnwood Chamber of Commerce during their monthly networking breakfast Thursday. One key to solving the problem? Ridding our medicine cabinets of all unused opiate-based pain medication.
“The target age for heroin addiction is 15- to 17-year-old girls,” said Trenary, and Snohomish County leads the state both in the number of heroin overdoses and deaths. Healthy Youth surveys conducted by area school districts indicate that teens who become addicted to opiates start with what they find in the medicine cabinet, usually OxyContin.
“One in four of us has some type of opiate medication at home,” said Trenary, frequently the result of doctors over-prescribing the amount of pain medication needed for many conditions. “The statistics show in this state that Washington, quite frankly, over-medicates itself,” he said.
He urged those in the room to participate in drug take-back programs, noting that medication can be dropped off at most police and sheriff’s departments offices so that it can be safely destroyed.
“If we can just be responsible for our pain medications, we can make a dent in this (problem), Trenary said.