Cheney Free Press -

DSHS combats opioid crisis with 'Starts with One' campaign


January 11, 2018

OLYMPIA — According to recent statistics, prescription pain medications are now the leading cause of accidental death in Washington state — more than guns or car crashes. In 2015, an average of two Washingtonians died each day from opioid overdose, and heroin deaths more than doubled between the years 2010 and 2015.

Now, using a portion of an $11 million federal grant, the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) is continuing its work to combat the state’s opioid epidemic by launching a new prevention campaign, “Starts with One.”

“This campaign is an important component of a larger prevention and treatment strategy to combat the opioid use disorder epidemic gripping our state,” Chris Imhoff, director of the DSHS Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery, said in a Jan. 9 news release.

The department’s division received the grant in spring 2017. Provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the grant not only assists in implementing a statewide response plan, it also helps address key elements in Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s executive order issued in October 2016 to fight the opioid crisis. In his order, Inslee expressed it was imperative that the state act in a comprehensive manner to address this public health crisis.

DSHS launched the campaign earlier this month, focusing on the premise that every Washingtonian can play a role in preventing opioid abuse. The themes used in this multi-media campaign are “one act of kindness,” “one honest converstaion” and “one simple step,” all of which are paired with specific actions people can take:

Young adults can share the facts of opioid abuse with their peers and talk with health care providers about other options for pain management when prescribed an opioid. Parents can speak to their kids about the risks of opioids and tips on how to lock up or dispose of medications; and older adults and parents are encouraged to lock up and dispose of medications safely.

More information, along with campaign material downloads, are available at Help for substance use disorders can be found by calling the Washington Recovery Help Line any time for free, confidential and emotional support as well as crisis intervention and referrals at (866) 789-1511.


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