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

seattle sucker punched...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Man ‘sucker punched’ in downtown Seattle as crime plagues city

A man was "sucker punched" in an unprovoked attack in downtown Seattle over the Memorial Day weekend, according to police.

1 day ago

Seattle police...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Many Seattle city council candidates won’t support police, drug laws

An alarming number of Seattle City Council candidates do not support fully staffing or funding the police department. And nearly a third of the candidates want the police to ignore drug laws.

2 days ago

Bob Ferguson Governor Google data privacy lawsuit...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Progressives shred Bob Ferguson for Governor endorsement

The Bob Ferguson for Governor campaign is off to a rocky start, already alienating Seattle activists after bragging about a police chief's endorsement.

3 days ago

freedom series homelessness...

KTTH staff

KTTH Freedom Series: WA still suffering from crime, homelessness

Local leaders and officials joined the KTTH Freedom Series to discuss solutions to the region's crime and homelessness crisis.

5 days ago

ktth freedom series crime crisis...

KTTH staff

KTTH Freedom Series: State policies created WA crime crisis

Jason Rantz was joined by politicians and authorities to discuss how policy has affected the crime crisis during the KTTH Freedom Series.

5 days ago

Seattle crime...

Bill Kaczaraba

KTTH Freedom Series: Seattle, Bellevue have dramatically different approaches to crime

The contrast between how Seattle and Bellevue address crime was at the forefront of the KTTH Freedom Series in Bellevue on Wednesday.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

WA Rep. launches task force against fentanyl in central Washington