A 22-page report “LIVE.LONG.DC” that details the strategic plans to reduce opioid-related deaths by 2020 in Washington, D.C. was released by the city on December 24, a week after the Washington Post reported that the city didn’t respond in time to the opioid crisis.
According to the Post, last year about 280 people died from opioid overdoses. The paper reported that D.C. was slow in implementing treatment and prevention programs.
As per the report released by the city, about a quarter of D.C.’s overdose victims consumed heroin for over 40 years. It was noted that there were 83 opioid-related deaths in 2014, 114 in 2015, 231 in 2016, and 279 in 2017. Between 2014 and 2016, the report indicates, there was a 178 percent increase in fatal overdoses due to opioid use.
The report further adds that opioid-related fatal overdoses were most prevalent in Wards 7 and 8 from 2014 to 2017. “89 percent of D.C. opioid users are over 40 years old and 58 percent are more than 50 years old. 22 percent have been using heroin (primary used opioid in Washington, D.C.) for more than 40 years, 59 percent for more than 25 years, and 88 percent for more than 10 years,” states the report.
New treatment, education and oversight initiatives are planned by the District for the future, which includes establishment of a board to review deaths stemming from opioid use in D.C.
“’LIVE.LONG.DC.: Washington, D.C.’s Strategic Plan to Reduce Opioid Use, Misuse and Related Deaths’ is our blueprint for how best to continue moving forward with urgency and thoughtfulness as we work towards reversing fatal opioid overdoses,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser wrote in the report’s introductory message.
“The Plan reflects the input of a cross section of public and private partners, including D.C. Government agencies, hospital leaders, physicians, substance use disorder treatment providers, community-based services providers, federal partners, and individuals in recovery.”
following WaPo’s damning report on her administration’s response to surge in fatal opioid overdoses in the District, Mayor Bowser announces “LIVE. LONG. DC.” plan “to reduce opioid use and misuse and to reduce opioid-related deaths by 50 percent by 2020”: https://t.co/veM6FuTn0Y pic.twitter.com/TOIbQRURlI
— Andrew Giambrone (@AndrewGiambrone) December 25, 2018
Bowser emphasized that they will keep working in cooperation to develop and implement strategies to help those facing opioid use disorder. “We are devoted to tailoring our response in a manner that is specific to Washington, D.C., based on our history, demographics, and trends in usage so that we can stem this scourge,” she wrote.