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Background: Addiction & Homelessness in Seattle

Due to the opioid and fentanyl epidemics, the housing crisis, and structural and systemic factors, more people than ever are struggling with addiction and housing instability. People in the Greater Seattle Area are especially impacted by these issues; one study estimated that 34,866 people were experiencing homelessness on a single night in King County in 2023, while another found that of more than 13,000 unhoused people surveyed, 37% identified as having a substance use disorder.

We know that these issues can feel insurmountable, but our almost 40 years of service attest to the life-changing impact of individualized, holistic addiction recovery treatment combined with wraparound services and a supportive community environment. Read below to gain insight into how addiction and homelessness affect our community, and explore our services to learn how we address these issues in an informed, effective way.

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A recent study found that out of all 50 states, Washington:

  • Has among the highest percentage of adult drug users

  • Has the 2nd highest percentage of adults with unmet drug treatment needs

 

In 2022 there were 1,008 overdose deaths in King County, a 43% increase from 2021. In 2023, 1,131 people have died as a result of drug overdose or alcohol poisoning as of November 15th.

 

Overdose deaths in King County have been on the rise, jumping nearly 58% from 2019 to 2022.

Sources:

Washington Department of Commerce, 2023 Snapshot Report

King County Regional Homelessness Authority, 2022 Point in Time Count

WalletHub, Drug Use by State: 2023 Problem Areas

Public Health – Seattle & King County, King County Fatal Overdose Dashboard

Public Health – Seattle & King County, 2022 Fatal Overdose Report

Public Health – Seattle & King County, King County Fatal Overdose Dashboard

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