Pierce County puts unlicensed pot dealers
on notice that they'll need to close in a year
Officials in Pierce County, Washington have notified landlords, business owners and operators involved with the unlicensed sale of medical and recreational marijuana that as of July 1, 2016, they'll need to find another way of making money.

The county says it wants to work with said establishments in the meantime, but those still in operation after the deadline will face the law. The county sent out letters following passage of Senate Bill 5052 that more closely pairs the recreational and medical marijuana markets and requires unlicensed marijuana businesses to shut their doors. See the Pierce County web site for more information on its strategy to smoke out the illegal pot shops.

New Washington law intended to increase
access for heroin overdose treatment drug

A new Washington state law that will make it easier for law enforcement and others who are not medical doctors to administer a life-saving medication used to treat heroin overdoses is now in effect.

The state’s new “Naloxone Law” enacted by House Bill 1671, passed both the House and Senate unanimously during the 2015 session and was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on May 8. It took effect on July 24.
Narcan reversing an overdose

Naloxone, marketed under the names Evzio and Narcan, is used to counter the effects of opioids such as heroin, especially in instances of overdose. The drug can be administered either by spraying it into the nose, by injecting it into a muscle or intravenously. It reverses the effects of an opioid overdose blocking opioid receptors.

Under the new law, naloxone can be prescribed directly to an “entity” such as a police department, fire department, homeless shelter or social service agency. It can also be distributed by non-medical providers such as a health educator, counselor, or syringe exchange volunteer under a prescriber’s standing order. The bill provides immunity from prosecution under the state’s Uniform Disciplinary Act for those making a “good faith effort” in helping those suffering from an opioid-related overdose.

At least three law enforcement agencies in Washington state have already trained officers in its use and included naloxone in emergency response kits so that they can administer the drug when they encounter cases of overdose when responded to calls.

In testimony before the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, Rep. Brady Walkinshaw, D-43rd District, stated that the legislation he sponsored was requested by a constituent whose sister had died from a heroin overdose. He noted that there has been a six-fold increase of opioid use by people in their 20s since 2000 in Washington, and that some of the highest rates of opioid use in the state have been recorded in the Skagit and Whatcom county areas.

“Increasing access (to naloxone) would save lives,” Walkinshaw said.

Others testified that providing more wide-spread access reduces the amount of time critical treatment can begin as law enforcement often beats medics to an overdose scene by several minutes.

Snohomish County recently declared heroin deaths are now at “epidemic levels,” and recent news reports indicate heroin deaths in Seattle have spiked by 58 percent.

A policy paper by Lt. Governor Brad Owen on increased heroin abuse was published by the National Lt. Governors Association in May. More information on the new law and on Naloxone in general can be found on the StopOverdose.org web site. (Graphic by Maya Doe-Simkins/Harm Reduction Coalition). 

Is meth use on the comeback?
More babies than ever are being treated at the Pediatric Interim Care Center in Kent for meth addictions. Is that, coupled an increase in meth smuggling busts by the regional Drug Enforcement Agency, a sign that meth is making a return in Washington? A report by KING-5 TV makes that suggestion and tells us where all of the meth is now coming from.

Mentioned in the Media

Tacoma News Tribune/AP
Washington officials warn about
marijuana exposure to kids
Calls to the Washington Poison Control Center for children eating marijuana edibles increased 33 percent between the first half of 2014 and 2015, center officials report. While the increase may be attributable to greater awareness of the center's hotline, public health officials remain troubled by the increase and urge that all marijuana edibles be kept locked and out of the reach of kids. Read the full article in the July 15 Tacoma News Tribune.

HeraldNet Editorial
Alcohol misuse major threat
Alcohol, while often overlooked as a problem drug, in reality is still about the worst there is in terms of abuse and subsequent societal impacts, The (Everett) Herald writes in a July 10 editorial.

State Patrol: Marijuana played role
in July 4 crash that killed Oregon woman
Marijuana is suspected as a cause in a fatal collision on I-5 in Thurston County on July 4, The Olympian reports. Bail has been set at $30,000 for the driver, who was charged by Thurston County prosecutors with vehicular homicide and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A 43-year-old woman from Beaverton, Oregon died in the accident. 

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/2015/07/06/3807361_state-patrol-marijuana-played.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

Office of National Drug Control Policy