An emergency overdose kit with naloxone located next to an emergency defibrillator at Mountain View student housing at Everett Community College on Tuesday, March 5, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

An emergency overdose kit with naloxone located next to an emergency defibrillator at Mountain View student housing at Everett Community College on Tuesday, March 5, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

To combat fentanyl, Snohomish County trickles out cash to recovery groups

The latest dispersal, $77,800 in total, is a wafer-thin slice of the state’s $1.1 billion in opioid lawsuit settlements.

EVERETT — Snohomish County will give a slim slice out of a $28.9 million pie to organizations helping with substance abuse recovery, County Executive Dave Somers announced Tuesday.

As of last October, Washington had won more than $1.1 billion from multiple lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies for their roles in the opioid crisis. The state awarded half to local governments. By December, $28.9 million began flowing into Snohomish County. The money will continue to come in installments over 17 years. So far, the county has received about $1.4 million.

The county plans to split $77,800 of that money among 11 organizations that help people with substance use disorder. The move is part of the county-led Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC) Group’s strategy to combat the crisis through local outreach services.

Last year, at least 269 people died from opioid overdoses in Snohomish County. From 2021 to 2023, fentanyl-related deaths jumped from 159 people to 226 people. So far this year, 31 people in the county have died from opioid overdoses. Fentanyl has been a factor in 27 of those deaths.

“Fentanyl and other opioids are deadly, and they have a lasting impact on our loved ones and the entire community,” Somers said in a press release. “In Snohomish County, we have the infrastructure and partnerships needed to address substance use disorder, and we’re acting with urgency to launch and expand local efforts.”

The county awarded $7,500 to Lynnwood-based Advocate Recovery Services to train at least 15 people who are in recovery from drug abuse to become Certified Recovery Coaches.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to continue to support the deepening reservoir of competency in Snohomish County’s recovery community,” Kirk Carlson, president of Advocate Recovery Services, said in a press release. “We are privileged to offer these scholarships to Snohomish County residents with lived experience to better serve the suffering right here at home.”

The county also awarded $4,500 to Take the Next Step, a nonprofit serving homeless and low-income families in East Snohomish County. The money will support mobile outreach services for those who are homeless and use opioids.

“Bringing information, increased resources and service providers to our unhoused community, in their context and circumstances, we can dramatically increase the chances of them seeking their own recovery,” said Michael Lorio, unhoused outreach director at Take the Next Step. “By reducing barriers to support, this program will have a positive impact on the entire Sky Valley community.”

The total allocations are:

• $7,500 to Advocate Recovery Services for at least 15 Certified Recovery Coach scholarships;

• $7,500 to Bridgeways to create a Jail Transition Support Program for those leaving the county jail;

• $7,500 to Center for Human Services to host events about the opioid overdose-reversing medication naloxone, also known as Narcan, and a peer mentorship program;

• $7,500 to Courage to Change to provide housing and transportation assistance at its 18-bed recovery facility;

• $7,500 to Nest Mission to provide motel vouchers, housing, transportation and recovery assistance;

• $7,500 to New Horizon Care Centers to provide housing assistance for those coming out of inpatient treatment for substance use disorder;

• $7,500 to Washington Recovery Alliance for a recovery services event at Funko Field in Everett;

• $7,500 to YWCA Snohomish for peer recovery services training;

• $7,300 to Volunteers of America Western Washington for two substance use recovery workshops;

• $6,000 to Reboot Recovery for a 12-week trauma healing program for people with substance use disorder; and

• $4,500 to Take the Next Step for a mobile outreach program.

Snohomish County plans to allocate more money for other projects this summer.

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