America’s Opioid Epidemic in Our Own Backyard


America is in the midst of an opioid-abuse epidemic, which has caused a startling rise in overdoses and deaths from these highly addictive drugs.

Opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin) killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, more than any year on record according to the Center for Disease Control.. Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription. Our county is not immune to this tragedy. Our speakers will describe the dimensions of drug abuse in Whatcom County and how our health professionals and law enforcement are dealing with the challenges.


Cindy Hollinsworth is a Registered Nurse who is the manager of the Communicable Disease Division at the Whatcom County Health Department. She manages the Syringe Services Program for Whatcom County and is a member of the local Opioid Taskforce Safety Committee which focuses on naloxone distribution and safe drug takeback for Whatcom County. Cindy is a member of the Northwest Organization of Nurse Executives, the Washington Nursing Action Coalition Leadership Committee and the Washington State Association of Local Public Health Officials.

Dr. Adam Kartman is a family and emergency physician who is a passionate advocate for those in need of medical treatment for opiate use. He trains first responders in the use of naloxone to prevent death from an opiate overdose. He transferred from Southern Arizona to the Pacific NW, twenty-six years ago, as a Lt. Commander in the US PHS-Indian Health Service, to work as medical director at the Lummi Tribal Health Center.
He is board certified in Addiction Medicine. At present, he partners with multiple teams of medical professionals, to provide inpatient and outpatient treatment services in Northwest Washington. With naloxone reversal of opiate overdose, these teams have documented over 122 lives saved locally in the past 18 months.