King County councilmember sounds alarm on fentanyl problem in the region

Reagan Dunn is proposing increased resources in next budget to help lower rate of fentanyl deaths.

Fentanyl-related deaths in King County over past few years (courtesy of Public Health – Seattle & King County)

In response to a public safety alert issued by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency this past Monday, King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn is pushing for the County to increase its commitment to fentanyl overdose prevention and awareness in the upcoming supplemental budget.

“As fentanyl trafficking has swept through our region, it has claimed the lives of many hundreds of King County residents who unknowingly ingested the dangerous drug,” Dunn said. “This is a worsening crisis that will only take more lives unless we make a meaningful commitment to get the message out that it only takes one time, one pill to end your life.”

In a letter to the Chair of the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee, Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Dunn asks to accelerate initiatives such as Public Health – Seattle & King County’s “Laced and Lethal” public awareness campaign. Laced and Lethal is an online education campaign that targets youth aged 14-18 through social media advertising.

Dunn says an additional investment would allow Public Health to broaden the campaign to traditional media and broader age groups, and educate family members on how to identify signs of drug use.

According to the DEA alert, the number of DEA-seized counterfeit pills with fentanyl has jumped nearly 430% since 2019, with two out of five of those pills containing at least two milligrams of fentanyl, which is considered a deadly dose.

In King County, 256 fentanyl-related deaths were confirmed in the first three quarters of 2021 — already more than double the total number of fentanyl-related deaths in 2019 and nearly 50% more than 2020’s total fentanyl-related deaths. Throughout the country, substance use has increased dramatically during the pandemic with 13% of U.S. adults reportedly stated or increased substance use.

The DEA attributes fentanyl as the primary driver of the increase in overdose deaths as well as the increase in gun violence, as described in the public safety alert. In 2021, the DEA seized more than 2,700 firearms in connection with drug trafficking investigations – a 30% increase since 2019.

King County’s 2021 Mid-Biennial Omnibus Budget is scheduled to be transmitted to the Council on September 30 and will be considered over the next two months, with final Council action scheduled for November 23.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

t
Two Kent community projects on request list for federal funding

Sea Mar wants to build medical clinic, affordable housing; UTOPIA seeks to expand services

t
Two Kent students at Highline College earn statewide recognition

Sameer Koirala, Caitlyn Jonson named to the 2022 All-Washington Academic Team

Photo of promotional recruitment banner used by Auburn Police Department at Petpalooza. The banner features Auburn Police Officer Jeff Nelson, who is awaiting trial for the 2019 murder and assault of Jesse Sarey. Photo courtesy of Jeff Trimble
Auburn Police use photo of embattled officer on recruitment banner

Families of people killed by Jeffrey Nelson, who’s awaiting trial for murder, speak out over use of his photo at Petpalooza.

Carriage Crest Elementary, 18235 140th Ave. SE, in Renton, is part of the Kent School District. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent School District
Kent School District closes as many as two classrooms at 5 elementary schools due to COVID-19

Cases on the rise in King County; 4 schools close one classroom, one school closes two

t
Car removed from Old Fishing Hole in Kent after rolling into water

Owner tells police he’s uncertain why the car began to roll from parking lot but that he wasn’t in it

T
Use your King County library card to explore the outdoors

KCLS cardholders can check out a Discover Pass for two weeks to explore public lands.

Monkeypox virus. Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control.
King County identifies first presumptive monkeypox case

The illness is not as easily transmitted compared to COVID-19, according to health officer.

t
State Labor Council endorses four Democrats in 47th District races

Group recommends Satwinder Kaur, Debra Enterman, Shukri Olow and Chris Stearns

File photo.
Federal Way man arrested after fatal crash on SR 18

One killed, others injured in Sunday night crash.

Most Read