Death rates from prescription opioid overdoses in Washington state dropped 27 percent between 2008 and 2012, while hospitalizations declined for the first time in 2012, according to a new paper led by a researcher from the University of Washington School of Public Health.
An epidemic of death and injury from prescription opioids has swept across the country over the past 15 years, claiming more than 100,000 lives, according to first author Dr. Gary Franklin, research professor of environmental and occupational health Sciences and adjunct research professor of Health Services. Dr. Franklin also serves as medical director of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.
The paper, published in the American Journal of Public Health, seeks to share milestones and lessons learned from Washington state’s successful efforts to reverse the epidemic. The paper credited strong collaborations at the highest levels of government and among state agencies, researchers, medical providers, and community stakeholders. The coalition focused on interventions that targeted key drivers of the epidemic.
Among the efforts: