Media Statement: Drug Suspected in at Least One Fatality, at Least 20 Police Calls Prompts Statement from Health District

Media Statement: Drug Suspected in at Least One Fatality, at Least 20 Police Calls Prompts Statement from Health District

Aug 15, 2018

Health officials urge individuals to know the signs of overdose; encourage community to rally around prevention, treatment

For more information, contact Kim Papich, SRHD Public Information Officer 509.324.1539 or

From Spokane Regional Health District Health Officer, Dr. Bob Lutz:

"As officials learn more about the cause of a recent fatality and sharp increase in calls to law enforcement, initially associated with stimulant drugs, we encourage those suffering from addiction and those around them to know the signs of overdose, including rapid, slowed, or irregular heart beat; difficulty breathing; chest pains; or high body temperature or high blood pressure. Please call 911 for immediate assistance as first responders and healthcare providers in our community are well-equipped in our community to help individuals who have overdosed. For those who use illicit stimulants, we encourage you to get rid of your supply, in case there are bad batches circulating in our community.

We also encourage the public to heed warnings from law enforcement to please call 911 if you observe someone who appears to be under the influence of a stimulant and jeopardizing the safety of themselves or others.

Although we do not yet know what the substance involved in this fatality and increased need for law enforcement is, historically, with regard to stimulant overdoses, for instance methamphetamine, the number of deaths remains unacceptably high in Spokane County. This recent situation underscores that substance use in our community continues to be a chronic condition for many--a symptom of several social determinants at play. Note that substance use is not a moral failure. This is an opportunity for the larger community to remember that drug use is a complex phenomenon, that these individuals are human, and to rally around prevent and support services for users who are struggling. We encourage anyone struggling with substance use to contact the Washington Recovery Hotline, 1-866-789-1511."

Spokane Regional Health District staff can provide data on stimulant use and misuse in our community, including via our Spokane Counts website. The Spokane County Medical Examiner's Annual Report also offers useful data.

Additionally, the health district offers programs and resources for those struggling with use, including its Opioid Treatment and Needle Exchange programs. Spokane County also offers this list of treatment resources

More information can also be found at SRHD's website offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter.