Rep. Dan Griffey calls on governor to declare fentanyl emergency

Rep. Dan Griffey is calling on Gov. Jay Inslee to declare Washington state’s fentanyl crisis an emergency.

“We must do something real at the state level,” said Griffey, R-Allyn. “I think a declaration of emergency needs to happen now, and I ask the governor to do that.”

VIDEO: Rep. Dan Griffey calls on Gov. Jay Inslee to declare Washington’s fentanyl crisis an emergency

Griffey’s comments came during a bipartisan press conference Friday morning at the Capitol that included House members from both sides of the aisle highlighting various bills and budget items that had passed or were poised to pass during the 2024 legislative session and presenting a united front on addressing the crisis that is killing more Washingtonians than ever, including children.

Griffey said the Department of Homeland Security has left Washington alone by failing to do enough to detect and stop the flow of fentanyl into the state. He explained that an emergency declaration would cut out much of the red tape and free up all state agencies to be thinking about what they could do to help address every front of the crisis, highlighting three urgent needs.

Trafficking/Law Enforcement

“I think the state Department of Transportation (DOT) can help with the trafficking,” said Griffey. “I think the State Patrol can help DOT with that trafficking. Our law enforcement officers need more tools. They’re begging us for those tools. Let’s give them those tools.”

Accountability

Griffey also stressed the need for stronger laws.

“I believe there is a need to show real support for real strict laws and punishment for those that manufacture and distribute this garbage to our community,” said Griffey. “This declaration would free up all state agencies to be thinking about this, and governor, I ask you to think seriously about declaring a state of emergency in Washington state so our children, our most vulnerable, our society, and our tribal partners can have real success. We can do it if we stand together, and I am calling on all my colleagues that are standing here behind me today to work towards legislation to get those things done.”

He said Washington must be bolder in its fentanyl response.

“There has to be more punishment for the crimes of trafficking and distribution of drugs,” he said. “There has to be more education. There has to be more family communication – family conversations. It needs to be normal that we talk about these things.”

Griffey especially stressed the need for family discussions to combat pill sharing in schools.

“Our kids need to be armored with a defense mechanism,” said Griffey. “Pill sharing is something that can’t happen in our schools any longer, and we have to talk about it right now in our family discussions. It needs to be a conversation at the dinner table.”

He asked his fellow House members to commit to doing more to address the fentanyl crisis.

“One life is too many,” said Griffey. “We can do a heck of a lot better.”

Griffey served as a local firefighter for 30 years before retiring in 2022 and has seen the horrors of fentanyl first hand. He experienced personal tragedy as a result of fentanyl flooding Washington streets when a close family friend died 20 minutes after taking just one pill. In 2023, Griffey cosponsored House Bill 1209, in honor of Tyler Lee Yates to crack down on illegal pill press operations in Washington state. It became law last year. In the 2024 legislative session, Griffey cosponsored House Bill 1956 – a bipartisan bill that, among other things, requires prevention and awareness education about fentanyl and other drugs in Washington schools. The bill is scheduled for a public hearing Saturday, February 24, at 9 a.m.

More Information

King 5 report on Rep. Griffey’s Tyler Lee Yates bill

Rep. Dan Griffey: we need to talk about fentanyl

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov