The Opioid Response Multi-Agency Coordination Group

A rural multi-agency coordination group in Washington state that responds to the local opioid crisis like a natural disaster

In 2017, local leaders formed the Snohomish County Opioid Response Multi-Agency Coordination Group (MAC Group). The effort builds on the emergency management system to tackle the opioid challenge with many of the same tools deployed to fight a flood, respond to a flu epidemic, or to start rebuilding after an earthquake.

The group’s goals include reducing opioid misuse and reducing damage to the community. Each goal is broken down into manageable steps, like distributing needle cleanup kits and a project to train schoolteachers to recognize trauma and addiction.

The county's program also includes making transportation easier for people in drug treatment, training family members and others in the community on steps to reverse overdoses with medicine, and sending teams of police officers and social workers to help people experiencing homelessness and substance use.

This community response has been replicated. More detailed information on this coordinated response can be found in this presentation.  

(Program model uses) many of the same tools deployed to fight a flood, respond to a flu epidemic, or to start rebuilding after an earthquake.

Continuum of Care
Full continuum of care
Harm Reduction
Type of Evidence
Response Approach
Comprehensive services
Early Intervention
Family Support
Overdose prevention

Evidence of Program Effectiveness

Key accomplishments so far…“Reduced the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s wait time for toxicology results in fatal overdoses from an average of 15 weeks to 12 days. That’s nearly nine times sooner that family members receive answers and authorities are able to intervene in response to drug-related deaths and crimes. Collaborated with Workforce Snohomish to secure $2.4 million in funding to develop a comprehensive program using employment navigators to help those struggling with substance use disorder and/or homelessness obtain employment. Conducted focus groups with pharmacists, dentists and veterinarians to better understand the impact of the opioid epidemic from their vantage point, as well as what support is needed. Developed a universal system for reporting and sharing information among embedded social workers, regardless of whether they are working with police in Everett, Arlington, Marysville, Lynnwood, Edmonds or the county’s unincorporated areas. This reduces the likelihood of problems – and people – falling through the cracks.”  Source: A message from Sheriff Trenary of Snohomish County