Governor Inslee revealed his proposed $54 billion 2019-2021 budget earlier this week. The allocated funds include $30 million for opioid crisis-related issues — $19.3 million for treatment and recovery and $10.7 million for prevention.
Specifics of the treatment plan include funding for four new 16-bed facilities for pregnant and parenting women struggling with opioid use disorder, two new Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion programs outside King County, and incentives for providers to help people recently released from jail to avoid any gaps in their medication-assisted treatment.
The prevention plan includes providing adults covered by Medicaid with access to nonpharmacological back pain solutions, funding for fentanyl test strips to be distributed to syringe services programs, and electronic mail screeners in the mail rooms at minimum security prisons.
“People need this treatment, especially the parents raising our next generation,” Inslee said during a press conference at Harborview Medical Center’s Adult Medicine Clinic. “And that’s what we’re going to do.”
According to a report from the Washington State Department of Health, 1,128 people died of drug overdoses in 2017. In 2016, 1,078 people died of drug overdoses. That’s about double the number of people who are killed in car accidents each year — 537 in 2016, according to Washington Department of Transportation data.
Washington is following the “hub and spoke” model of opioid use disorder treatment. Under this system, a central healthcare facility (the “hub”) subcontracts with surrounding clinics and other agencies (the “spokes”) to offer access to medication-assisted treatment.
Inslee’s proposed 2019-2021 budget also includes $28 billion for K-12 education, $4.3 billion for higher education, $273 million toward clean energy initiatives, a combined $1.1 billion to help preserve the Southern Resident orca population, $8.7 million to continue updating the liquor and cannabis regulatory system, $5.2 million to install 83 new seismic monitoring stations and implement an early warning system outreach program, and $1.2 million to create a statewide broadband office.
Read the full budget here.