Information

Marijuana-related Car Accidents in Washington

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently finalized a study on the Prevalence of Marijuana Use Among Drivers in Fatal Crashes: Washington, 2010-2014. They found that from 2010 through 2013, the estimated number and proportion of drivers involved in fatal crashes who had a detectable concentration of THC in their blood doubled from 2013 to 2014 after Initiative 502 took effect. From their analysis it appears that after Initiative 502 took effect there was a relatively stable amount of deaths where people had detectable concentration of TCH in their system. About nine months after the initiative was passed, there was a significant increase.

Quarterly average proportion of drivers involved in fatal crashes who were positive for THC and modeled seasonally-adjusted linear trend before and after Washington Initiative 502 took effect on 6 December 2012 legalizing recreational use of marijuana for adults aged 21 years and older, Washington, 2010 – 2014. Taken from report.

Quarterly average proportion of drivers involved in fatal crashes who were positive for THC and modeled seasonally-adjusted linear trend before and after Washington Initiative 502 took effect on 6 December 2012 legalizing recreational use of marijuana for adults aged 21 years and older, Washington, 2010 – 2014. Taken from report.

You can read the final report, see the slideshow, or find out quick information in their fact sheet.

The Opioid Epidemic

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Opioids have been in the news frequently recently, and we wanted to share some information with our coalition about what has been happening. Our initiative along with our partnership with the Prosser CIA coalition regarding prescription drug permeant take back boxes is in part aimed at reducing opioid abuse.

So you might not know exactly what opioids are. Opioids are medications that relieve pain. They reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain and affect those brain areas controlling emotion, which diminishes the effects of a painful stimulus.

Medications that fall within this class include hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin), oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin, Percocet), morphine (e.g., Kadian, Avinza), codeine, and related drugs. Hydrocodone products are the most commonly prescribed for a variety of painful conditions, including dental and injury-related pain. Morphine is often used before and after surgical procedures to alleviate severe pain. Codeine, on the other hand, is often prescribed for mild pain. In addition to their painrelieving properties, some of these drugs—codeine and diphenoxylate (Lomotil) for example—can be used to relieve coughs and severe diarrhea.
— National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Planet Money on NPR recently broadcast a store called Hooked on Heroin that gives a good look and history into opioids and their connection to the rise in heroin abuse in the United states. You can listen to the story below.

Congressman Dan Newhouse, from the 4th District, in an email to his supports discusses his actions to approve Senate Bill 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016.

The bill passed in the House on a vote of 407 to 5. The bill reforms drug treatment and education programs and supports states by expanding access to addiction treatment services for individuals with an opioid use disorder. Among other efforts, it expands access to life-saving opioid overdose reversal drugs by supporting the purchase and distribution of opioid overdose reversal drugs and training for first responders.
— Dan Newhouse

He also discusses the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015 (H.R. 2646). He stated "Which represents the most significant reform to our nation’s mental health programs in decades. The bill would improve coordination among mental health programs, drive evidence-based grants, foster access to care for short term stays of adults in institutions for mental disease, and expand outpatient treatment for mental health. It would also improve mental health treatment for children. This bipartisan legislation is an important step to address the mental health crisis facing our nation." You can read more about some of his recent activities in his email Combatting Opioid Epidemic and Reforming Mental Health.