State lawmakers show bipartisan support for fight against fentanyl

State Rep. Lauren Davis, from the 32nd District, at podium, speaks about legislative efforts to fight the opioid crisis with a bipartisan group of House lawmakers. Rep. Dan Griffey, R-Allyn, third from left, is calling for Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency in response to fentanyl and opioids. (Bill Lucia/Washington State Standard)

A dozen House lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, gathered Friday to emphasize their bipartisan commitment to solving the rising problem of opioid addiction and overdose deaths. “Despite being divided along party lines on many things, we’re unified in this front,” said Rep. Mari Leavitt, D-University Place. Proposals to stock overdose reversal medication in schools and to expand public awareness about deadly fentanyl risks are among the bills moving this year.

Rep. Lauren Davis, D-Shoreline, who outside the Legislature works for Washington Recovery Alliance, recalled how when the House budget rolled out during her first session, in 2019, she cried because of how little attention it gave to addressing addiction. She said this has since changed, with entire sections now devoted to substance use disorder programs, including funding for things like addiction treatment facilities, recovery housing and medication-assisted treatment. Even so, Davis said it “takes an act of God to get into treatment” in Washington, adding that only about 6% of those in need of treatment receive it.

Meanwhile, Rep. Dan Griffey, R-Allyn, called on Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a statewide emergency as part of the opioid response. He said this would bring more agencies to the table to collaborate and work with greater urgency on the issue, including on fighting trafficking of the drug. Asked about that option, Inslee spokesman Mike Faulk responded: “Staff previously looked into this for fentanyl extensively and there are no new resources we know that would be available under such an action.” … “With the Legislature currently in session, they are the branch of government in the best position right now to pass necessary funding and policy actions to combat fentanyl.”

— By Bill Lucia, Washington State Standard

  1. Close the border and stop the illegal invasion of drug cartels and human traffickers. Send national guard to the border to stop the flow of the drugs. Enforce the laws on the books and defend our borders North, South, East and West.

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