King County’s 2023-24 budget includes funding for substance use disorder treatment

The budget earmarks over $5 million in substance abuse treatment efforts.

King County’s 2023-2024 biennial budget, approved on Nov. 15 by the King County Council, directed several new investments in substance use disorder recovery programs and efforts.

“The rise of substance use disorder, here in King County as well as nationwide, is a crisis situation,” King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn said. “I’m working to address this crisis because, frankly, lives are on the line — and I know from my own experience with recovery how important it is that treatment is available and accessible to all who need it. We have a lot of work to do in King County on this front.”

The new investments in King County’s biennial budget, totaling $5,200,000 include:

– $50,000 to support King County’s Conference on Substance Use Disorders, a virtual conference formed in 2020 that highlights cutting edge science on addiction issues, the work of local recovery-oriented organizations, and resources for recovery.

– $500,000 to support continued communication campaigns to combat substance use disorder, including the Laced and Lethal public awareness campaign that works to increase awareness about the dangers of fentanyl for youth and their parents.

– $150,000 to extend King County’s substance use disorder anti-stigmatization campaign. The campaign focuses on eliminating prejudices around seeking treatment for a drug or alcohol problem, raising the awareness of the efficacy of available treatments, and promoting stories of recovery and hope.

– $5 million to support wage increases for the County’s human services workers in order to help retain social workers in the mental health and addiction fields.

Nationwide, one in ten adults report being in recovery from a substance use disorder, according to King County. However, 90 percent of those with a substance use disorder never seek treatment.

In King County, deaths from drug and alcohol poisoning have greatly increased in recent years, largely driven by skyrocketing rates of deaths caused by fentanyl, which are on track to more than triple in 2022 compared to 2020.

If you or a loved one need treatment for a substance use disorder, call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.