WASHINGTON – In 2010, an estimated 500 people in Washington state died by overdose, 83 percent of them blamed on controlled substances. A decade later, fatal overdoses claimed more than 1,726 residents’ lives. Of those, controlled substances, including opioids, led to 886 – or nearly 51 percent – of these deaths.
To help combat state’s growing opioid epidemic, the U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of $800,000 in funding to the Washington State Department of Employment Security to support job creation and workforce training services in five counties. The award will support efforts in Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific and Thurston counties, which have suffered significant social and economic impacts from widespread opioid use, addiction and overdose.
Supported by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, Opioid Disaster Recovery Dislocated Worker Grants create temporary jobs in peer recovery positions and provide services to reintegrate workers affected by the opioid crisis back into the workforce.
In October 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than 140 Americans die from drug overdoses, 91 specifically due to opioids each day.
Administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration, the award is the first allocation of a $1,785,474 million National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grant. State officials estimate the award will support the creation of jobs and provide workforce training for approximately 115 people.