MARYSVILLE – Snohomish County is treating the opioid epidemic as if it is a disaster.
It’s Department of Emergency Management and its Opioid Response Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC) Group are working together on the problem. They are identifying resources and looking for partners, such as the city of Marysville.
County Executive Dave Somers and members of his staff talked to the City Council about it Monday. “It’s been tremendously successful so far,” Mayor Jon Nehring said.
The city was told it could get involved by sending a representative to their meetings, by backing the emergency support group or by having its own parallel MAC.
Somers said Marysville residents might feel like the opioid problem might only be here, but that’s not the case. “It’s everywhere,” he said.
Jason Bierman, the county director of emergency management, said there recently were 365 inmates in the county jail and two-thirds were going through substance withdrawal. To combat that, the county and city have an embedded social worker teamed with law enforcement to aid addicts in getting help. One problem they already have seen is no place to take them until they can get services. The county is going to open a 44-bed diversion center.
Because of laws that limit youth being detained, they said there are two vacant areas at the Denney Juvenile Justice Center in Everett. They hope to use those in the future to house addicts as they await services.
Police Chief Rick Smith added that the city is now involved with overdose tracking that shows where they occur. Information is then given to the drug task force, which can focus on the area where the overdoses are taking place.
Smith said he is glad to see more community engagement. Nonprofits, churches and other community groups are stepping up to help.
He said he is all for talking folks into treatment, “but we still need strong and robust law enforcement.”
Also, Smith said let’s not forget the young kids who are overdosing on marijuana, which is easier to obtain now that it’s legal in this state.
“We need full on drug awareness,” he said, adding it’s not just opioids and heroin because meth is making a comeback in usage locally.
In other council news:
•The city will receive a $500,000 grant to help fund in-house design of Olympic View Park, and construction should start next year, parks director Jim Ballew said.
•The city will receive a grant for $102,325 then pay consultants $100,750 for services related to the former Interfor Pacific site on the Marysville waterfront. The goal is for no further cleanup action to be needed
•Water main installation is done on Sunnyside Boulevard and overlay work will follow.
•Daniel Schmidt was sworn in as a new custody officer.
•The community center and the Jennings Park Barn are rented out 98 percent of the weekends for the rest of the year, and will bring in $10,000 more in revenue because of price changes, Ballew said.