Hold on, tomorrow needs you!

Last week, I went to Open Pierce County to find an answer I needed to know – but was concerned by what I would find.  Last year when I had checked the Medical Examiner’s data on fatal accidental drug overdoses in Pierce County, it showed nearly one resident dying per day in 2022 (363 total deaths). 

As I feared, 2023 was even worse with a total of 439 deaths.  These horrific increases are driven primarily by the scourge of fentanyl – with nearly 8 in 10.  Fentanyl is so deadly and hard to detect, many are dying without ever knowing they took fentanyl.  It kills across all demographics.

So, when Clover Park School District Ron Banner invited me to a private screening of his students’ Fentanyl Awareness videos, I was eager to go.

Tragically, many of our youth in high school, and even middle school, know a classmate that has died from fentanyl.  These videos, prepared and written by students for their classmates, shared important messages in a powerful way.  For the student filmmakers it also showed that their “voices matter.”

As County colleagues, I strongly encourage each of you to take the time to listen to their voices, too – the fact that the fentanyl crisis is killing so many in our community demands our attention and action.

And if you have students of your own, or nieces and nephews, or grandchildren, or young adult neighbors, I encourage you to consider sharing the videos with them as well.

Too much is at stake.

Fentanyl Awareness and Finding Value in Every Person

Fentanyl Awareness in Our Community

Fentanyl Awareness and Mental Health

Fentanyl Awareness Having Social Support

Thanks to Superintendent Banner and the Clover Park School District staff who supported this crucial project, and to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department for funding it.

“Life is tough but you are strong.  Hold on, tomorrow needs you.” – a powerful message for our youth and all of us!

And this was my second event of the week where I was inspired by our youth!

Tuesday afternoon I had the chance to meet the amazing young women of our 2024 Daffodil Festival Court.  These princesses, representing many of our local high schools, are selected based on their academics, leadership, and community involvement.  I was able to hear their future plans – and about half of them are pursuing careers in healthcare.  One is even heading off the U.S. Naval Academy!  And they asked me plenty of tough questions, too. 

Each year, I come away from talking with the Princesses knowing that our future is bright and yellow!