AMA's "Opioid Task Force 2019 Progress Report”

The AMA Opioid Task Force urges physicians and other health care professions to continue taking action to help reverse the nation’s opioid epidemic, and the Task Force also calls on policymakers to take specific steps to remove barriers to evidence-based care for patients with pain and those with a substance use disorder. The 2019 progress report highlights physician action and the immediate need for policymakers to focus on removing barriers to evidence-based treatment.

  • America’s physicians are using state prescription drug monitoring programs more than ever.
  • The AMA Opioid Task Force encourages all physicians to enhance their education.
  • The AMA Opioid Task Force urges expanded access to Naloxone.

> Download the Report

Ventura County: 2018 Overdose Report

dr young

 Christopher R. Young, M.D. Chief Medical Examiner

1,563 deaths were reported to the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office during calendar year 2018. Jurisdiction was accepted for 806 of these deaths, requiring further investigation and certification. Postmortem examinations were performed on 626 cases. Of the cases investigated, 170 deaths were due to medications, alcohol and or illicit drugs. Of the 170 deaths, 156 were accidents, 13 were suicide and one death was undetermined.

Of the overdose deaths, men accounted for 112 deaths (65.7%) and women accounted for 58 deaths (34.3%). Multiple drugs or medications may be involved in one case; therefore, one should not add the numbers of individual substances. The same case may be represented multiple times by different drugs or drug categories.

Noteworthy trends:

  • Total overdose deaths jumped by 49 between 2016 and 2017 but only increased by 5 between 2017 and 2018. Accidental overdoses rose by 37 between 2016 and 2017 and by 14 between 2017 and 2018.
  • Of the specific drug types and categories, the largest increase in 2018 involved methamphetamine (up 28 compared to 2017).
  • Except for ethanol, all drug types and categories increased compared to 2017 (opioid, heroin, fentanyl, benzodiazepine, methamphetamine and cocaine).
  • The highest rate of overdose deaths in 2018 was between ages 51 to 60 years (48 deaths).
  • Of the 40 deaths involving benzodiazepines, all were mixed substance overdoses with the exception of one suicide.

> Download the Report

> Letter from the Medical Examiner

> HOOKED | Overdose deaths up in 2018, though no one drug is to blame, VC Reporter, May 20, 2019

Ventura County will sue opioid makers and distributors to recoup expenses

Ventura County supervisors voted Tuesday to sue manufacturers, marketers and distributors of opioids, joining the large number of public entities across the nation lining up to recoup costs of treatment, law enforcement and other expenses linked to the addictive painkillers. Voting 5-0, the Board of Supervisors authorized the litigation that is expected to be decided in federal court. County officials say commonly misused opioids include Vicodin, OxyContin, tramadol and codeine. County Counsel Leroy Smith provided a list of potential defendants that included Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and other drug companies, along with about a dozen distribution companies. The list of distributors, which were defined as firms that get the drugs to market, included CVS Health Corp., Rite Aid and Walmart.

> Read Ventura County Star article

VCBH Medical Directors present the Benzodiazepine Project at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta

Deaths resulting in accidental overdoses related to benzodiazepines has been rising in Ventura County. Of all benzodiazepines, alprazolam is the most commonly prescribed, misused and diverted; however, it is no longer the drug of first choice for most conditions. To help reduce morbidity, mortality and drug diversion, VCBH focused on incorporating good practices into its medical decision-making regarding controlled substances. The project dealt with multifaceted challenges: a growing epidemic of Rx drug abuse in the community, consumers’ lack of awareness of the dangers these substances pose, providers’ lack of awareness of evidenced-based practices, and resistance to change on the part of both patient and prescriber.

> Watch the Video
> Download the Presentation



©2019 Ventura County Behavioral Health • Hanstad Consulting • Website: Idea Engineering