Inslee proposes $30M to address opioid crisis

SEATTLE (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed the state spend $30 million to help combat the opioid epidemic by creating new programs and complementing actions already underway across the state.

The Seattle Times reports the money, included in his proposed $54.4 billion budget, would be directed toward treatment and prevention of opioid-use disorder. Under the umbrella of treatment, programs ranging from peer support to residential programs for women would get funds.

Prevention efforts would funnel money toward nonpharmaceutical pain treatments such as chiropractic care for spinal pain and anti-overdose strategies, including providing kits to drugs users to help them identify whether street drugs contain the powerful synthetic narcotic fentanyl, which has been driving overdose rates.

At a Monday news conference at Harborview Medical Center, Inslee said these programs are part of the state's "hub and spoke" approach to treatment and prevention.

"It is going to focus where it should first, which are pregnant moms and parenting programs." Inlsee said. "We need more treatment options for young mothers."

Treatment would receive $19.3 million of the $30 million, and be used to support women and parents struggling with opioid addiction. New programs would include a Medicaid substance-use peer service and start-up costs for four new 16-bed residential treatment sites for pregnant and parenting women, allowing mothers to be with their child during treatment.

Money is also included in Inslee's proposed budget to help drug users coming out of jail.

Prevention efforts would get $10.7 million and go toward providing Medicaid patients access to alternative pain treatments and mail screening at the state's four minimum-security prisons to keep drugs away from inmates.