On March 29, our CEO, Marsha Malsam, spoke at the kick-off event of Operation Engage. This new DEA-led program offers a collaborative, community-level approach using drug education, prevention, and awareness to address the opioid epidemic here in Spokane.
According to the DEA, Spokane’s location along I-90 and its proximity to the Canada border make it a central hub for narcotics distribution throughout Eastern Washington and other states to the east, including Idaho and Montana. Opioids (illicit fentanyl and heroin) and prescription drugs are among the top regional drug threats in Eastern Washington.
This information is vital to the way we approach this issue and brings into focus the magnitude and effects this problem will continue to have on our community. We must see this as an all-hands-on-deck approach. With the DEA, we believe working together is the only way we will be successful in our efforts to end this crisis.
Malsam, our namesake Rayce Rudeen’s aunt, shared Rayce’s story at the event. She explained the difficulty and pain that each of her family members experienced when they lost Rayce to a fentanyl overdose. “If we could save one family from going through the excruciating pain that we went through, we would be happy,” she said. As we have grown we focus on empowering our communities to fight addiction through prevention, treatment, recovery and support.
The Rayce Rudeen Foundation has partnered with the DEA in creating S.A.F.E (Spokane Alliance for Fentanyl Education). S.A.F.E will host a Community Leadership Summit in May 2022. The summit is for community leaders to join the force of ending this epidemic and creating substantial educational programs for all demographics to stop the tragic deaths caused by fentanyl.