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

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

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

Opioid Awareness Month

Visit the Opioid Awareness Month display at the Ventura County Government Center Hall of Administration during the month of October.

 

med cabinet display crop

 

> Read the Opioid Medicine Cabinet Brochure

Surgeon General’s Spotlight on Opioids

The Office of the Surgeon General and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) developed this Spotlight on Opioids to provide the latest data on prevalence of substance use, opioid misuse, opioid use disorders, opioid overdoses, and related harms. The Spotlight on Opioids assembles opioid-related information from the Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health to better inform the general public, especially family and friends of people with an elevated risk of opioid overdose, opioid misuse, and/or opioid use disorder. Read the Spotlight on Opioids.

Prescription Drug Addiction: A National Epidemic…It Can Happen to Anyone - May 3

Join for an educational and provocative presentation and discussion about drugs, and how their abuse effects our lives and our community. The event is on Thursday, May 3rd at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. It features a panel of experts that will look at all aspects of addictions to opioids and prescription drugs. Robert Patterson, acting administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will deliver the keynote address in a program about the national and local epidemic. The DEA is partnering with the city, the Simi Valley Police Department, the FBI and Adventist Health Simi Valley to host this event. Simi Valley Police Chief David Livingstone will discuss how narcotics have affected the community and Julia Feig, director of the Simi Valley Hospital emergency room, will address the medical effects of opioid drug use. The film “Chasing the Dragon, the Life of an Opiate Addict” will be shown. Doors open at 6 PM and program starts at 7:00 PM.

> What You Need to Know About Opioids brochure

> In Simi Valley, DEA Acting Administrator Robert Patterson says opioid woes to worsen, VC Star, May 4, 2018

Surgeon General’s Advisory on Naloxone and Opioid Overdose. Urges more individuals to carry life-saving medication.

"I, Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, VADM Jerome Adams, am emphasizing the importance of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. For patients currently taking high doses of opioids as prescribed for pain, individuals misusing prescription opioids, individuals using illicit opioids such as heroin or fentanyl, health care practitioners, family and friends of people who have an opioid use disorder, and community members who come into contact with people at risk for opioid overdose, knowing how to use naloxone and keeping it within reach can save a life." Read the Media Advisory

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

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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