Prevent Overdose Deaths

Opioid-related Overdose Deaths, WA 2000-2017

Source: State of Washington Department of Health death certificates
*Prescription opioids excludes fentanyl-involved deaths
**Fentanyl deaths includes other non-methadone synthetic opioids
Note: Individuals may overdose from taking more than one type of opioid.  Deaths can be included in more than one category

In 2017, 739 people, an average of two a day, died from opioid overdose in Washington. These deaths are not localized to one or two areas, but happened in all areas of our state

To prevent overdose deaths partners are working to: 

In Washington, anyone can get naloxone and use it to help someone having an overdose. Overdose victims and those who try to help have legal protections in Washington state.  

What are we doing? 

Together, partners are working to increase access to naloxone by: 

  • Providing training on opioid overdose and naloxone. 
  • Distributing naloxone to people who use opioids and their friends and family. 
  • Ensuring naloxone is available to law enforcement, first responders, syringe service programs, jails, social service providers, tribes, and others likely to witness an overdose. 
  • Promoting access to naloxone at pharmacies. 

How are we doing?   

Overdose deaths

  • The rate of opioid-related overdose deaths has remained fairly flat over the past decade, but there has been a shift in the type of opioid involved in the overdose.
  • Since 2008, there has been a dramatic reduction in overdose deaths involving a prescription opioid while deaths involving heroin initially increased then leveled off. 
  • Overdose deaths involving fentanyl more than doubled from 2015 to 2017.   

Naloxone education and distribution

  • Distribution of naloxone kits doubled from 2017 to 2018, with 36,000 kits distributed to syringe service program clients and other lay responders in 2018.
  • More than 3,200 overdose reversals were reported by syringe service program clients in 2018.  Many opioid overdose reversals go unreported so the positive impact of naloxone is likely higher than the numbers show.


Washington Recovery Help Line 

There are many different places to view opioid-related data.  For a deeper dive into data, additional resources within Washington state are: