Garcia Announces “Freedom from Fentanyl” Walk

Walk from Yakima Co to Seattle July 16-21 will bring focus to fentanyl crisis

Yakima, WA – Dr Raul Garcia, candidate for U.S. Senate, announced today he will walk from Yakima County to Seattle July 16-21 to bring focus to the growing threat of fentanyl, a drug that is killing Washingtonians by the thousands.

Garcia will be joined throughout the walk by former addicts, families and friends of fentanyl overdose victims, advocates and public officials.

“Our mission is to unite eastern and western Washington in the fight against fentanyl, to honor all those who have died senselessly, and to let the people of Washington know we have the power to overcome this terrible drug and save lives,” said Garcia.

On July 10, Garcia will be joined by local healthcare professionals and advocates for a preliminary one-day Freedom From Fentanyl walk from Toppenish to Yakima, to shed light on the fentanyl crisis in central Washington. Garcia is an emergency room doctor and Medical Director at Astria Toppenish Hospital.

Garcia said fentanyl is “the worst killer I’ve seen in 26 years,” adding that he sees at least two fentanyl overdoses per shift in the ER. He said he decided on the walk because government response to the crisis has been “completely inadequate.”

In 2022 alone, there were 1,803 fentanyl overdose deaths in Washington, according to the state Department of Health. Since 2019 there has been a major surge in fentanyl deaths statewide. Nationally, in 2023 there were almost 75,000 fentanyl overdose deaths, and the Center for Disease Control noted that Washington had one of the highest spikes in overdose death rates in the nation.

Arguing that “drastic measures” are needed to save lives, Garcia is proposing the Americans Against Fentanyl Act which would impose mandatory felony charges and significant prison time for serious fentanyl dealers, and allow and provide federal funding for mandatory treatment and recovery programs for addicts.

During the walk Garcia and his fellow walkers will be accompanied by support personnel and supplies. They will stop at various points along the route to spend the night and meet with locals. 

The walk will conclude the afternoon of July 21 in Seattle where there will be a gathering and media availability. More details about the route and walk participants will be released soon.