Share this story...
opioid, Public Health
Latest News

SPD officer, WA congressional candidate on the opioid fight, stronger treatment

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Keith Swank is a United States airborne infantry veteran and a 30-year veteran of the Seattle Police Department, who’s taken a special interest in the opioid crisis.

He describes himself as a constitutional conservative and has decided to take on Congresswoman Kim Schrier in Washington’s 8th District, which encompasses chunks of King, Pierce, Chelan and Kittitas counties — all areas he believes deserve better than what Schrier has done.

“I believe in the Constitution as it was written and meant by our founding fathers, which means limited government, and I believe that the government and bureaucracies have overstepped their bounds, and we need to get back to the original intent of the Constitution,” he told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

Rantz: Dangerous Seattle-area policy leading to teen overdose deaths

With Schrier, this particularly relates to her approach to health care and taking away people’s private insurance.

“I listen to her speak about how she wants to extend basically Medicare for all … You could take the examples every day with Medicare and about the care that our elderly people are receiving from that. My mom is a prime example about how the doctors actually spending time with her don’t really help out or anything like that,” he said. “It’s because they’re not making the money that they would be making with private insurance, and it’s just very troubling and worrisome.”

Keith Swank, SPD experience, and the opioid crisis

He expects his multi-decade experience as a police officer to inform how we could cope as a state with the growing drug issue, especially in understanding what addicts are going through.

“I’m in my 30th year with the Seattle Police Department and I’ve spent 25 years of that in the patrol bureau as an officer, as a sergeant, as a lieutenant and as a captain, and I have seen how these drugs impact whole neighborhoods for years and years,” he said. “We have interviewed and talked with people who are hooked on drugs, and they talk about how terrible it is and how they even if they have a moment of clarity where they want to get off of it, the drug takes over again and they’re back in doing the same thing, looking for drugs, looking for a way to get the money for drugs, which then increases property crimes and things like that.”

Father warns kids after son’s ‘horrifying’ fentanyl overdose

In terms of how to tackle the situation, Swank believes in both stopping the drugs at their source and taking a strong stand in enforcing treatment for those who need it the most.

“One of the biggest reasons why we need to have a wall at our southern borders is because of the opioids that have come across the border. Heroin and fentanyl — 90 percent of it comes across our southern border. Last year, 65,000 Americans died of drug overdose.”

“My approach would be that when people are involved in that and caught with drugs, that they have to go to treatment. And I don’t mean a 30 day treatment, that won’t work. It has to be a whole year-long approach,” he said. “They have to be made to go to it because the drug takes over everything in their life. It is more important than food, family or anything at all. It’s so devastating that we have to do something, and I think it has to be tough love.”

To learn more about the Keith Swank campaign, head to

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

Most Popular