Board of Health considering making opioid overdose a reportable condition

(MOUNT VERNON)- Tracking of opioid overdoses doesn’t happen consistently at the local level. Skagit County Public Health proposes to change that by making opioid overdose a reportable condition.

An ordinance presented Dec. 11 to the Skagit County Board of Health seeks public comment on the proposal. A public hearing is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. The entire ordinance can be found online at skagitcounty.net/opioids. Written comments can be submitted through Jan. 7, 2019 online, or by email to joannel@co.skagit.wa.us.

“In Public Health, we create strategies to address problems,” said Joanne Lynn, Communicable Disease and Environmental Health manager. “We need good data so we can create strategies that will work in our communities. The better we understand a problem, the better we’re able to solve it.”

Currently, Skagit County Public Health doesn’t have the ability to collect local data on opioid overdoses in a timely way. Statewide data can take years to trickle down to the local level, and even then it may not be localized enough to be useful. Improving data collection allows Public Health to share information consistently with emergency departments, EMS providers and other healthcare partners. Staff can also develop a targeted action plan, provide resources where they’re most needed, and take steps to help prevent future overdoses.

Find more information about the proposed reportable condition ordinance online at skagitcounty.net/opioids. For questions or more details, please contact Joanne Lynn at joannel@co.skagit.wa.us or 360-416-1559.