A Rural Community Decided To Treat Its Opioid Problem Like A Natural Disaster

When he was police chief of Stanwood, Wash., population 7,000, Ty Trenary thought rural communities like his were immune from the opioid crisis.

Then, one day, a mother walked through his door and said, “Chief, you have a heroin problem in your community.”

“And I remember thinking, ‘Well that’s not possible,’ ” Trenary recalls. “This is Stanwood and heroin is in big cities with homeless populations. It’s not in rural America.”

Last year leaders declared the opioid epidemic a life-threatening emergency. The county is now responding to the drug crisis as if it were a natural disaster, the same way they’d mobilize to respond to a landslide or flu pandemic.  more

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