Heroin responsible for 132 King County deaths in 2015, report finds

Heroin overdoses were responsible for 132 King County deaths in 2015, according to data compiled by the University of Washington's Alcohol and Drug Institute.

Heroin overdoses were responsible for 132 King County deaths in 2015, according to data compiled by the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Institute.

The report, released July 19, gave further evidence of a growing heroin epidemic across the nation. Treatment admissions, such as to detox and long-term treatment facilities, saw a jump of nearly 20 percent from 2014.

Admissions have jumped nearly 170 percent since 2011, with the largest age category between 18 and 29 years old.

For the first time, the report said, more heroin-related patients were submitted to detox or long-term care than for alcohol. Heroin was involved in 348 police cases county-wide in 2015, the most-common drug in police evidence.

But despite the increase in heroin use and visibility, the number of overdose deaths dropped from 156 deaths in 2014.

In 2015, legislation took effect allowing first-responders easier access to an anti-heroin drug, naloxone. Referred to as “overdose prevention” in the report, the personal use of take-home-naloxone reportedly reversed over 2,000 heroin overdoses in 2015.

The report highlighted a handful of other drugs. Cocaine levels have dropped in the last five years, with the lowest-number of cocaine-related police cases since 2002.

Methamphetamine use appears to be rising, though levels aren’t as high as in 2005. Deaths involving meth jumped to 86 in 2015, nearly half of which also involved the use of heroin. Meth-related deaths averaged around 20-per-year from 2003-2011.

Use of synthetic opioids, such as prescription painkillers, has declined slightly. Synthetic opioids were the only drug class in which a majority of treatment admissions were female, at 61 percent. Admissions to treatment facilities declined in 2015.

More in News

If passed, Senate Bill 6254 would limit the nicotine concentration of vape products, ban certain flavoring chemicals and require vape manufacturers, distributors and retailers to obtain licenses from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. File photo
Lawmakers propose sweeping regulations for vaping industry

Bill supporters cite concerns over health issues and teen use.

A proposal by Senate Democrats would require concealed pistol license applicants in Washington state to complete a safety course. File photo
Democrats seek firearm training requirement for concealed carriers

Republican senator calls proposal ‘unconstitutional.’

Snohomish County man is first U.S. case of new coronavirus

A man in his 30s was hospitalized in Everett after contracting the virus during a trip to China.

Blake Peterson/staff photo
                                City manager Jennifer Phillips was one of the speakers at the Jan. 16 information session.
What’s next for the former Wayne Golf Course in Bothell?

The city of Bothell recently acquired the property from its previous owners.

Matt Marshall, leader of the Washington Three Percenters gun rights group, addresses a crowd rallying for Second Amendment rights Jan. 17 at the state Capitol in Olympia. Marshall condemned Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, which expelled Rep. Matt Shea from the Republican Caucus. Marshall announced his candidacy for the 2nd District seat held by House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox. Photo by Cameron Sheppard, WNPA News Service
Gun rights advocates rally at Capitol

Criticism levied at Matt Shea investigation, Republican leadership.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (center) announced a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in a press conference Jan. 2. Debbie Warfield of Everett (left) lost her son to a heroin overdose in 2012. Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki (right) lost her son to an overdose of OxyContin in 2017. They are joined by Rep. Lauren Davis of Shoreline (second from right), founder of the Washington Recovery Alliance. (TVW screenshot)
AG Bob Ferguson talks lawsuits, gun control

Washington state Attorney General stopped by Sound Publishing’s Kirkland office.

Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, the primary sponsor of SB 5323, speaking on the bill. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Sabio-Howell)
Proposed law adds a fee to plastic bags at checkout

Senate passes bill to ban single-use plastic bags, place 8-cent fee on reusable plastic bags.

Photo courtesy city of Kenmore
                                From left to right: Corina Pfeil, Melanie O’Cain, Rod Dembowski, Milton Curtis and David Baker.
Baker, Herbig continue as Kenmore mayor, deputy mayor

They were appointed at the Jan. 13 council meeting, during which councilmembers were also sworn in.

Development has encroached on the East Lake Sammamish Trail (at right). Joe Livarchik/file photo
King County files lawsuit to finish East Lake Sammamish Trail

Homeowners have until September to remove buildings and other property from the right of way.

Most Read