Drug overdoses on the rise on Eastside

ISSAQUAH — Emergency responders are seeing a spike in drug overdoses on the Eastside. In some areas, numbers are up sharply.

drugs“Depending on how you look at it, anywhere from 65 to 800 percent,” said Eastside Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief Greg Tryon.

Eastside Fire & Rescue says residents from 18 to 50 years old share a dangerous habit that’s hurting families and taking lives. Substance abuse is way up among everyone from late teens to middle age.

“If this is, in fact, a trend that’s continuing, there’s definitely a problem,” said Tryon.

But the problem isn’t limited to Seattle suburbs. Port Angeles has seen seven heroin overdoses in just the last few weeks.  Seventeen-year-old Maceo Neihaus died last month. His family said it was the first time he’d ever touched the stuff.

“He was awesome, he was unconditionally loving,” said Neihaus’ grandmother, Rickie Neihaus. “Everyone loved him. This is hell.”

Investigators said 18-year-old David Zavodny sold Neihaus the heroin that killed him.  He could be facing murder charges.

“I have so much anger,” said Neihaus’ mother, Miranda Cedar. “So much fear for all these children out here.”

Law enforcement agencies across the region say, in general, use of methamphetamine and prescription painkillers is down – but users are turning to equally dangerous alternatives like cocaine and heroin.

And for too many, that high will be their last.

“These are friends, these are families, these are members of our community,” said Tryon. “These have real impacts and toll on our community.”

According to the latest figures, drug overdoses among kids younger than 18 on the Eastside have not gone up.

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1 Comment

  • NAVYTOWN

    Schools should be planning now to implement even more intensive drug education programs when classes resume in the fall.