WA Rep. launches task force against fentanyl in central Washington

May 25, 2023, 1:10 PM | Updated: 3:55 pm

washington fentanyl task force...

Washington's 4th Congressional District Representative Dan Newhouse (Screenshot from live C-SPAN session)

(Screenshot from live C-SPAN session)

In response to the growing wave of fentanyl in the Pacific Northwest — particularly how easily it can be exposed to young children — Congressman Dan Newhouse, a Republican representative of central Washington, created a task force to tackle the crisis.

Just this week, three children were exposed to fentanyl in an Everett hotel room where they were living with their parents, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. The 11-month-old baby boy, his twin sister, and his 11-year-old brother were all checked out at a local hospital and are in the custody of child protective services.

1-year-old may have died due to fentanyl exposure

“Fentanyl is an illicit drug that’s coming into the U.S., much of it over our southern border, and is truly devastating our communities,” Newhouse said on The Jason Rantz Show on AM 770 KTTH. “I think the number last year for people dying from drug overdoses was something over 120,000. That’s almost double the number of [American soldiers] that were killed during the Vietnam War. It’s just a terrible thing that’s happening. It’s truly a crisis.”

The task force includes members from law enforcement, people working within addiction treatment groups, certain medical professionals, drug court officials, school resource officers, local elected leaders, and local elected tribal leaders — who all have varying viewpoints on the fentanyl crisis — something Newhouse wanted from the start.

Child dies of suspected fentanyl overdose, parents arrested

“I’m very hopeful that we will have concrete direction on what we can do at local, state, and federal levels to help win this war,” Newhouse said. “As far as I know, this is the only fentanyl task force in the state of Washington.”

The task force, coined as The Central Washington Fentanyl Task Force, plans to meet on a quarterly basis, according to Newhouse.

Washington, despite ranking just 33rd in the nation for drug overdose deaths, will have the second-highest increase year-over-year in 2023 compared to all other states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In King County alone, the Prosecutor’s Office cited 685 overdoses related to fentanyl in 2022, eight years removed from 2015’s mark of just three.

Facing Fentanyl: Addiction in pregnancy ‘ruins multiple lives’

“We want to know what hasn’t been working so we don’t see mistakes again to put together some things that we can use to address this issue,” Newhouse said. “And then I’m hopeful these solutions can be used nationwide for communities across the country. Obviously, I’d like to see something move forward through a federal law that would help the crisis. But certainly, things that can be done with a local or state level.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 7 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-7pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Image: Seattle Police Department officers arrest a woman caught driving a stolen car full of stolen...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle Police staffing lowest since 1958 as 38 cops leave so far

Seattle Police staffing has hit a terrifying low, with fewer officers in 2024 than in 1958. The population and crime have soared since then.

8 hours ago

Photos: Gubernatorial candidate Semi Bird denied wearing a Special Operations Combat Diver Badge, t...

Jason Rantz

Rantz Exclusive: Video shows Semi Bird wearing military badge he didn’t earn

Gubernatorial candidate Semi Bird denied wearing a Special Operations Combat Diver Badge, that he didn't earn. Video shows he did.

1 day ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: Adrian Diaz Shares his secret. EXCLUSIVELY with Jason Rantz

Former Seattle Police chief Adrian Diaz. Find out what else he has to say in his only interview. Listen to The Jason Rantz Show weekdays from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. on AM 770 KTTH or on-demand wherever you listen to podcasts.

2 days ago

Adrian Diaz gay...

Jason Rantz

Rantz Exclusive: Former Seattle police Chief Adrian Diaz announces he’s gay

Former Seattle police Chief Adrian Diaz was accused of "predatory behavior" towards female staff. There's an issue with the claim: He's gay.

2 days ago

(Photo courtesy of SPD via LinkedIn)...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle Police Department recruiting DACA recipients to be cops

The Seattle Police Department (SPD) is actively looking to recruit DACA recipients to be cops. Is this constitutional? Is it a good idea?

3 days ago

Photo: Bow Lake Elementary...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: SeaTac teacher to host 5th graders on a protest march for social justice causes

A Bow Lake Elementary teacher is planning a March for Justice for 5th graders. It's unclear if there is parental consent.

6 days ago

WA Rep. launches task force against fentanyl in central Washington