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Snohomish County Executive releases $1.4M spending plan to combat fentanyl

FILE – A man smokes fentanyl in downtown Seattle. (KOMO News)
FILE – A man smokes fentanyl in downtown Seattle. (KOMO News)
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Snohomish County is looking to tackle the fentanyl crisis in their community. Executive Dave Somers is sharing his plan to address and combat the problem which he said has affected him personally.

$1.4 million from the state’s opioid settlement fund will go towards the county’s response plan. Somers said the money would go towards more education in schools and making treatment more available.

Somers tells KOMO News he's felt that impact of the drug crisis after losing his brother to a fentanyl overdose earlier this year.

RELATED | As the fentanyl crisis takes hold, how can the addiction be treated?

“They’re deadly, once you’re addicted to something like that it’s really hard to, it never really shakes you or you never really shake it so it took my brother," said Somers.

After the loss of his brother, Somers released a spending plan for the $1.4 million that would go towards creating a Disaster Policy Group that will implement strategies to address the drug use. His plan would make Naloxon, a drug that reverses overdoses, more available to first responders while also expanding education in schools.

RELATED | How is the fentanyl crisis impacting Washington first responders?

“Every kid that’s in school now and growing up will encounter this in some way in their life," said Somers.

People who live in the area share their concerns on how deadly fentanyl can be and how easy it is get your hands on it.

"Our kids are not being able to be in the city and enjoy the things that we’ve had because it’s just overwhelmed with all the people," said Stephanie Murphy, a concerned parent and resident in Snohomish County.

So far this year, the county has reported over 80 fatal overdoses, half of which were tied to opioids. KOMO News asked Somers how he’s going to enforce his plan and whether he plans on putting people behind bars.

“We know that just locking people up for a short period of time and then putting them back on the street that isn’t solving the problem," Somers added. "What we have to do is if they are breaking the law offer them treatment alternatives.”

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The Snohomish County council will be reviewing the proposed spending plan and is expected to vote on it in the coming weeks.

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