When (and where) opioids have been spread across Washington

Jul 19, 2019, 12:39 PM | Updated: 1:21 pm
utah, plague, drug war...
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Newly-revealed data shows the massive scale that prescription opioids were made available in Washington as an epidemic gripped communities across the nation.

Perception, reality, and the face of addiction

The Washington Post reports that recently-published data being used in lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies shows where opioid pills were distributed during the rise of the epidemic, and how much. Looking at maps prepared by The Post, a correlation can be seen between areas where prescription opioids were more prevalent, and the rise in opioid deaths.

For Washington, 1,858,634,809 prescription pills were provided to patients between 2006 and 2012, distributed by McKesson Corporation (650,515,580 pills) and SpecGx LLC (958,673,658 pills). Sources that provided the most pills were located along the I-5 corridor between Longview and Seattle.

Locations where more pills were given out between 2006-2012:

  • Evergreen Pharmaceutical, Tukwila: 16,093,430 pills
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington, Renton: 12,437,600 pills
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington, Olympia: 10,675,400 pills
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the NW, Longview: 9,872,770 pills
  • Assured Pharmacies Northwest, Bellevue: 8,618,400 pills

The data is also broken down by county. Clallam County got it the worst during that period, with 76.6 pills provided per person each year. In fact, rural counties across the state were hit hardest.

  • Clallam County: 76.6 pills per person, each year
  • Pend Orielle County: 73.9 pills per person, each year
  • Asotin County: 70.8 pills per person, each year
  • Pacific County: 68.5 pills per person, each year
  • Cowlitz County: 65.1 pills per person, each year
  • Lewis County: 62.8 pills per person, each year
  • Garfield County: 61.6 pills per person, each year
  • Stevens County: 60.8 pills per person, each year

Bellingham clinic fighting addiction with new treatment

In the more densely populated Puget Sound region, far fewer pills were distributed:

  • Skagit County: 49.5 pills per person, each year
  • Snohomish County: 45.6 pills per person, each year
  • King County: 34.5 pills per person, each year
  • Pierce County: 38.6 pills per person, each year
  • Kitsap County: 35.7 pills per person, each year
  • Thurston County: 37.1 pills per person, each year

Various lawsuits have been filed against different companies involved in opioids, from distribution to manufacturing. Washington state has sued three distributors. Snohomish County has sued both distributors and manufacturers. Seattle has also sued drug companies.

The data comes from the Drug Enforcement Administration, which tracked the distribution of pills. More data is available for 2013 and 2014, but a judge overseeing a lawsuit has not decided on whether to release that information. The DEA and defendants in the lawsuits opposed the release of the data.

Should Seattle force treatment for addiction?

Local News

KTTH staff

Seattle police union warns pending retirements may delay action on high priority calls

The Seattle Police Department has 350 sworn officers eligible for retirement but cannot afford to lose more than 100 officers.
21 hours ago
tick case...
MyNorthwest Staff

Rare tick disease hospitalizes Whatcom County man in first case from WA

Anaplasmosis has hospitalized a Whatcom County man in the first locally acquired instance of the tick-borne disease in a human.
21 hours ago
(Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

KIRO Newsradio Headlines: Judge requires Starbucks to re-hire unlawfully fired employees

The KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk gives you the news you may have missed on the afternoon of Thursday, August 18.
21 hours ago
MyNorthwest Staff

DUI suspect drives wrong way on I-90, arrested with beer cooler in plain sight

WSP booked the driver into the King County Jail on charges of driving under the influence and reckless driving.
21 hours ago
Photo from the city of Lynnwood...
MyNorthwest Staff

Lynnwood awarded $25 million grant to build new I-5 overpass

The city of Lynnwood has recently been awarded $25 million from the federal government for a RAISE grant to build a new bridge over Interstate 5.
21 hours ago
A map of the evacuated area (Washington State Patrol)...
Associated Press

Fire closes highway, prompts evacuations near Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A wildfire has closed part of a highway and prompted mandatory evacuations south of Spokane.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
When (and where) opioids have been spread across Washington