New alliance focuses on fighting fentanyl issues in Spokane

SPOKANE, Wa. — The leaders of our community usually don’t have four hours in the middle of their day to sit still, but there’s a crisis in our community and the first step to solving it is to listen.

“When you hear that the DEA seized enough fentanyl in 2021 to kill every person in the country, this is the challenge of our time,” Mayor Nadine Woodward said.

On Thursday, community leaders and stakeholders within the Drug Enforcement Administration joined forces for a kickoff event to announce a new program in our area.

The Spokane Alliance for Fentanyl Education (SAFE) is a group of leaders trying to solve the fentanyl issue in our area.

The greater Spokane area has been designated a crisis area by the DEA for deadly illicit drugs coming into the region.

Now, there’s a group committed to encouraging all community members to join the fight, and it won’t take much for parents to protect their kids.

“Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Talk to your kids. Talk to your community. It’s out there,” said Kevin Rudeen, a father who lost his son to a fentanyl overdose.

The kickoff event served as a call to action, for everyone.

“We started a foundation for him, as a family, to help other families not have to suffer, or at least educate,” Rudeen explained.

After Kevin’s son lost his battle with addiction, his family started the Rayce Rudeen Foundation to help bring awareness to the issue.

“It seemed like when we lost Rayce, people were afraid to talk about it. It’s getting better now. So many people, so many families. It’s everywhere,” Rudeen said.

SAFE was formed as an extension of the Rayce Rudeen Foundation, along with the DEA’s “Operation Engage.”

The mayor said fentanyl recognizes no boundaries. It can impact anyone.

“I have tears in my eyes that we have this many people paying this much attention to a real problem. We need to address it,” Rudeen said.

This event served as a piece of hope for Rudeen that fewer parents will suffer the same heartbreak he’s gone through.

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