Fentanyl deaths increasing
in WA; tests find it in more
powders and pills
Opioid users urged to take steps to protect
OLYMPIA,WA -- Washington State Department of Health reports that
illicit fentanyl is being detected in new forms and is causing an increasing
number of overdose deaths in the state.
In the first half of 2018, there were 81 deaths linked to fentanyl, versus 48
deaths recorded during the same time period last year. This represents
an almost 70 percent increase in deaths.*
Illicit fentanyl has been found in a variety of counterfeit pills made to look
like prescription opioids. It has also been found in white and colored
powders, and could potentially be present in any illicit drug. This is a
dangerous development for heroin and other opioid users who may be
unaware when drugs contain illicit fentanyl. Fentanyl is 30-50 times as
strong as pure heroin, and a dose the size of a few grains of salt can be
fatal to an average-size person.
“While fentanyl has been a significant cause of overdose death
elsewhere in the United States, our state is now seeing the rise of its
deadly impact,” said Dr. Kathy Lofy, state health officer and co-chair of
the state’s Opioid Response Work Group. “We need people who take
illicit drugs to seek treatment and take other actions to reduce their risk of
Public health officials urge people who use opioids to take these actions
to help protect themselves from an overdose:
Seek treatment from the Recovery Helpline (see map of providers).
Information is a confidential phone call away at 1-866-789-1511.
Carry naloxone. Visit Stopoverdose.org to see locations that provide
naloxone in Washington.
If you witness an overdose, call 911, give naloxone and do rescue
breathing. Fentanyl may require multiple doses of naloxone to restore
breathing. The law (RCW 69.50.315) says neither the victim nor persons
assisting with an overdose will be prosecuted for drug possession.
Never use drugs alone.
Be careful about using too fast. Fentanyl is fast-acting and deadly. Many
experienced opioid users have overdosed or died by using too much, too
The state Opioid Response Plan details other actions underway to
reduce opioid overdoses.
* Data for 2018 are preliminary and will change as toxicology results are
finalized and the year ends. With a total of 121 confirmed deaths to-date,
there are already more fentanyl deaths in 2018 compared to 120 deaths
in all of 2017.
|Aumento de muertes por fentanilo en
WA; se ha detectado en más polvos y
Se urge a los usuarios de opioides que tomen pasos para protegerse
OLYMPIA, WA – El Departamento de Salud del Estado de Washington informa que se está
detectando fentanilo ilícito en nuevos tipos de opioides y que está provocando un aumento
de muertes por sobredosis en el estado.
En la primera mitad de 2018, ha habido 81 muertes vinculadas al fentanilo, comparado con
48 muertes registradas durante el mismo período el año pasado. Esto representa un
aumento de casi 70 por ciento de muertes.*
Se ha detectado el fentanilo ilícito en la heroína de polvo blanco, pastillas falsificadas hechas
para parecerse como opioides de receta médica, polvos marrones, y podría estar en otras
formas. Este es un hecho peligroso para los usuarios de heroína e otros opioides quienes
podrían no estar conscientes cuando las drogas contengan fentanilo ilícito. Fentanilo es 30-
50 veces igual de fuerte que la heroína pura, y una dosis del tamaño de unos cuantos
granos de sal (3 mg) puede ser fatal para una persona de tamaño medio.
“Mientras que el fentanilo ha sido una causa significativa de muerte por sobredosis en otras
partes de los Estados Unidos, estamos viendo la subida de su impacto mortal aquí en
nuestro estado,” dijo Dr. Kathy Lofy, oficial de la salud y copresidente del grupo de trabajo
del estado de Respuesta a los Opioides. “Necesitamos que las personas que toman drogas
ilícitas busquen tratamiento y que tomen otras acciones para reducir el riesgo de
Oficiales de la salud pública urgen a las personas que usan opioides que hagan lo siguiente
para protegerse de una sobredosis:
Busque tratamiento de la línea de ayuda de Recuperación (en inglés). Recientemente,
nuestro estado invirtió en muchas nuevas opciones para tratamiento apoyado con
medicación (vea el mapa de proveedores (en inglés). La información está al alcance de una
llamada telefónica confidencial a 1-866-789-1511.
Lleve consigo naloxona. Vea StopOverdose.org (en inglés) para lugares en Washington que
proporcionan la naloxona.
Si es testigo de una sobredosis, llame a 911, use naloxona y haga respiración de rescate.
Fentanilo puede requerir múltiples dosis de naloxona para recuperar la respiración. La ley
(RCW 69.50.315 en inglés) dice que ni la víctima ni las personas ayudando con una
sobredosis deben ser procesado por posesión de drogas.
Nunca use drogas a solas.
Tenga cuidado con usar demasiado rápido. Fentanilo es de acción rápida y es mortal.
Muchos usuarios experimentados de opioides han tenido una sobredosis o han fallecido por
usar demasiado, demasiado rápido.
El Plan de Respuesta a los Opioides (en inglés) del estado describe otras acciones en
marcha para reducir las sobredosis de opioides.
* Los datos son preliminares para 2018 y pueden cambiar según la finalización de los
resultados de toxicología y del año. Con un total de 121 muertos a la fecha, hay más
muertes por fentanilo en 2018 comparado con 120 muertes en todo el 2017.
El sitio web del departamento es su fuente para una dosis saludable de información.
También, encuéntrenos en Facebook y síganos en Twitter.
Proposed Washington state rule would restore labor protections for thousands
of overtime-exempt workers
Olympia – The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has formally filed a proposed rule that would restore overtime protections for thousands of Washington
workers. The proposed changes would significantly increase the minimum amount employees must earn before they can be exempt from receiving overtime pay.
The proposal also updates the test used to determine who qualifies for the overtime exemption, and more closely aligns the state rule with federal standards.
"Americans are working harder and longer than ever before and overtime protections ensure that workers are fairly compensated. That's why I asked the Department of Labor &
Industries to update Washington state's overtime rules," Gov. Jay Inslee said. "I thank L&I for their work to update the system that will benefit hard-working Washingtonians and their
The agency will hold public hearings around the state throughout the summer and offer other opportunities for people to provide input.
Washington's overtime rules, last updated in 1976, haven't changed in more than 40 years. During that time, the percentage of "white collar" workers who are considered exempt
from overtime and other worker protections has grown substantially. Meanwhile, the minimum amount exempt workers must earn in the state has remained unchanged. As a result,
some salaried workers can be paid less than minimum wage, don't receive overtime, and are not entitled to paid sick leave.
"The current system is out of date. It's at risk of failing tens of thousands of workers by broadly defining what a white collar worker is, which allows businesses to pay salaries that may
be even less than minimum wage," said L&I Director Joel Sacks. "That's especially true for employees who are expected to work well over 40 hours a week, but don't get paid
"We want to make sure that people who legitimately deserve overtime get paid for the extra hours they work," said Sacks. "Washington's minimum wage has been updated repeatedly
for decades; this hasn't been. This proposed rule links future salary thresholds to the minimum wage."
The formal proposed rule is the next step in a multi-year process that has involved two pre-draft rules, multiple public feedback sessions, and several meetings with business, labor,
and nonprofit representatives to exchange ideas.
Steady increases proposed to restore eroding worker protections
Washington employers are currently using the federal threshold, which allows salaried workers to be "exempt" from overtime if they perform certain types of work and are paid at
least $455 per week, or about $24,000 per year. The current state threshold, which was last updated 43 years ago, sets a level that's even lower, at $13,000. Washington's
proposed rule calls for restoring the protections by setting higher salary thresholds set as a percentage of the state minimum wage. Increases would be phased in over several years
depending on the size of the employer.
To meet the requirements, employers with 50 or fewer employees would have to pay exempt workers approximately $675 a week, or about $35,000 per year, beginning July 1, 2020.
Larger companies would have to pay exempt workers approximately $945 a week, or about $49,000 per year.
Those amounts would increase yearly based on a formula that uses the state's minimum wage. The changes could impact more than 250,000 workers by 2026. At that time, exempt
salaried workers would have to be paid at least 2.5 times minimum wage and meet the job- duties test.
Simplifying test to determine if an employee can be considered exempt
Along with updating the required salary threshold, the proposed rule would change the method used in Washington to determine if an employee is doing work that allows them to be
classified as exempt. The state currently uses two "duties tests" to make this determination. Under the proposal, they'd be combined into one test that would align more closely with
the method used at the federal level. The change would make the process simpler for employers, and increase the likelihood that workers are correctly classified.
Public hearings and feedback opportunities
With the release of the draft rules, L&I will now begin gathering more feedback from stakeholders through a formal rulemaking process, including public meetings and a public
comment period beginning June 5 and ending September 6, 2019. L&I will consider all input we receive in preparing a final rule.
"We know we're proposing a significant change, and it's important to have a serious discussion and hear all views," said Sacks.
Check the Overtime Rulemaking web page for details on this public hearing schedule:
Tumwater, July 15 at the Dept. of Labor & Industries headquarters.
Seattle, July 16 at The Swedish Club.
Bellingham, July 17 at Four Points by Sheraton Bellingham Hotel & Conference Center.
Ellensburg, Aug. 5 at Hal Holmes Community Center.
Kennewick, Aug. 6 at Springhill Suites by Marriot Kennewick Tri-Cities.
Spokane, Aug. 7 at CenterPlace Regional Event Center.
People can also comment by email to the Overtime Rule Program or by mail to the Employment Standards Program, P.O. Box 44510, Olympia, WA 98504-4510. Comments may be
submitted by fax: 360-902-5300.
The formal rulemaking process could take up to six months. More information about the proposal is on the Overtime Rulemaking web page. L&I expects to adopt the rule in late 2019.