COAST Year One Progress Event

November 12, 2019

The Ventura County Opioid Abuse Suppression Taskforce (COAST) celebrated its first year of successes made possible by funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Speakers included Mike Powers, Ventura County C.E.O.; Dr. Sevet Johnson, Director, Behavioral Health Department; Dr. Loretta Denering, Chief, Alcohol and Drug Programs Division; Dan Hicks, Manager, Preventions Services; Sheila Murphy, COAST Grant Administrator; Erica Pachmann, Evalcorp; Dr. Christopher Young, Chief Medical Examiner; Dr. Theresa Cho, CEO, Medical Director of Ambulatory Care; Commander Romano Bassi, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office; Rigo Vargas, Public Health Director; and Chris Rosa, Deputy Administrator, Ventura County EMS Agency.

> Read more about the COAST award
> See the Safe Prescribing Toolkit

 

Coast Denering

Dr. Loretta Denering, Chief, Alcohol and Drug Programs Division

Coast Powers

Mike Powers, Ventura County C.E.O.

Coast Young

Dr. Christopher Young, Chief Medical Examiner

Prescription Drug Take Back Day - October 26, 2019 – 10am - 2pm

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. The DEA’s Take Back Day provides an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths.

> Find local disposal sites near you
> See the Medication Safety at Home brochure
> DEA National Rx Take Back Day Information

 

medication safety at home

Countdown to the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta, April 22-25, 2019, Atlanta, GA



The Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit is the largest national collaboration of professionals from local, state, and federal agencies, business, academia, treatment providers, and allied communities impacted by prescription drug abuse and heroin use. It is the event for decision makers and allied professionals working to address this public health emergency. The Summit is now the annual gathering for stakeholders to discuss what’s working in prevention and treatment. This year Ventura County Behavioral Health will be presenting on “Saving Lives: Ventura County’s Overdose Prevention Program.” Presenters include Loretta Denering, DrPH, MS, Chief, Alcohol and Drug Programs Division, Kristen Donovan, PhD, Evalcorp, Research & Consulting, Daniel Hicks, Manager, Prevention Services, and Ashley Nettles, Overdose Prevention Program.  

The Overdose Prevention Program was designed to address the opioid epidemic locally by providing response training and naloxone kits to individuals with an elevated risk of experiencing an overdose or those likely to come into contact with someone who may experience overdose. The program provides overdose education to substance users, their families and key public agencies, to generate actionable data. The program launched in 2014 through the county’s Rx Abuse & Heroin Workgroup to reduce opioid-related deaths at a local level. Core components of the program include overdose prevention, recognition, and response education, as well as kit tracking and utilization data.

As of February 2019, over 3,020 Overdose Rescue Kits have been distributed countywide, and 563 lives saved!

We look forward to networking and sharing our Ventura County experiences on a national platform, and gaining new ideas and momentum to continue our good work.

If you are at the Summit, come see us at our presentation "Saving Lives: Ventura County’s Overdose Prevention Program" on Tuesday, April 23, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM!

> Read more about the Overdose Prevention Program

> Read about the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit

Prescription Drug Take Back Day - October 27, 10am – 2pm

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.2 million Americans misused controlled

Rx DisposalHandout 4x9 Englprescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. The DEA’s Take Back Day events provide an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths. The Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. 

> Find disposal sites near you
> DEA National Rx Take Back Day Information

Opioid Solutions Summit, August 29, 2017

1opioid summit

 

The Opioid Solutions Summit presented Ventura County's response to the growing problem of prescription pain medication and heroin abuse. Labeled a nationwide crisis and epidemic, reports from professionals and the community made it clear that this region was far from immune. Confronting prescription drug and heroin abuse is essential to protecting the public health and safety of all Ventura County residents. Featured speakers included Sam Quinones, Journalist and Author of Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, and Danny Trejo, Iconic Actor, Producer and Recovery Advocate.

Read more at Opioid Solutions Summit

Preventing Overdose through Safe Prescribing - Benzodiazepine Project

Ventura County’s Benzodiazepine Performance Improvement Project

The Ventura County Health Care Agency won the prestigious 2016 CAPH/SNI Quality Leaders Award for Data-Driven Organizations for “Safe Alprazolam Prescribing”. This award was presented to the HCA team at the CAPH/SNI Annual Conference in December 2016 in Pasadena, CA. In 2017, the County of Ventura Board of Supervisors also presented the team with the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) Challenge and Merit Award for the Safe Alprazolam Prescribing and Benzodiazepine Monitoring Program. Accidental overdoses resulting in death related to benzodiazepines have been rising in Ventura County. Of all benzodiazepines, alprazolam (brand name Xanax) is the most commonly prescribed, misused and diverted. To help reduce morbidity, mortality and drug diversion, Ventura County Health Care Agency focused on incorporating good practices into medical decision making regarding controlled substances. This project helped to learn whether providers were prescribing safely. This challenge was multifaceted: dealing with a growing epidemic of prescription 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.

VCHCA’s Safe Prescribing Initiative uses a multi-level approach, beginning with the establishment of practice guidelines. The initiative also accesses reports from the CURES prescription drug monitoring program, uses a medication treatment agreement (MTA) between prescriber and patient, utilizes urine drug screens, and ensures that patients have access to non-pharmacologic treatment options, which has included training therapists in cognitive-behavioral therapy. The project was innovative by using data to design report cards, offering medical providers feedback about their prescribing practices, and providing them with data that reflected how their practice compared to the practice of their peers and the organization as a whole. Through the initiative, VCHCA has cut its number of patients prescribed alprazolam to less than a third of what it was in 2014, it has doubled its rate of medication treatment agreements, and increased the percentage of CURES reports run from 18.7% to 97.7%.

benzo project

> See the Ventura County’s Benzodiazepine Performance Improvement Project Video

Informing the Community: Plane of Pills Media Event 2016

To earn media attention and spread the word about the epidemic of painkiller overdoses, the Ventura County Rx Abuse & Heroin Workgroup hosted a press event on May 18, 2016, to unveil the Plane of Pills campaign. Featuring concerns by the CA Department of Justice and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, resulting stories in local papers, radio and social media increased awareness of the enormity of the painkiller overdose problem. The workgroup is a multiagency collaboration, including the Medical Examiner, Public Health, Sheriff’s Department, Behavioral Health and others committed to reducing Rx drug-related problems. Featured speakers included Mike Small, California Department of Justice, CURES Program Manager, Gary Pentis, Undersheriff, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and Patrick Zarate, Ventura County Prescription Drug Abuse Workgroup Chair.

The mission of California's Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) is to facilitate safe prescribing and dispensing of controlled drugs to minimize prescription drug related deaths and injuries. Local prescribers are registering and utilizing the CURES 2.0 at increasing rates. The interactive CURES database provides the highest level of prescription drug monitoring available. It discourages “doctor shopping,” reduces overprescribing, contains information on the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances, including opioids, and protects patients who require painkiller medication. Our objective is to encourage and facilitate CURES registration and utilization with local education, on-site training, and promotion.

Read more at California's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (CURES) Media Event

 

plane of pills poster

Safe Pain Medicine Prescribing Policy Launched Countywide, January 29, 2015

Hospitals Unite on New Pain Meds Policy – Collaboration to Counter Drug Abuse, Improve Emergency Department Care

This multi-agency collaboration focused on preventing Rx drug misuse. Agencies included Ventura County Behavioral Health, Ventura County Public Health, Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, and Allied Emergency Departments Countywide. The new policy, used by all eight emergency departments includes:

  • When necessary, limited amounts of pain killers will be prescribed
  • EDs will not refill stolen prescriptions, but may refer patients to police
  • May ask people to show a photo ID when receiving a pain prescription
  • All patients will be provided copies of new prescribing policy

By adopting uniform policies, a consistent message was provided to patients countywide about how powerful prescription medications are made available in the Emergency Department.

Read more at Safe Opioid Prescribing Media Event

 

vcr safeprescribing er event

L. to R.: Dr. Julia Feig, Dr. Celia Woods, Dr. Neil Canby, Dr. Carlo Reyes, Dr. Anthony H. Ho, Dr. Thomas Duncan and Dr. Martin Ehrlich



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