What is the Opioid Crisis?

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Opioid Awareness is everybody's business. (*See below for sources.)

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> The Opioid Crisis: Ventura County Responds, Workforce Safety & Employee Health


Reducing Supply + Reducing Demand = Saving Lives

Someone in the U.S. dies of a drug overdose every 20 minutes – and the clock is still ticking. As overdose deaths exceed motor vehicle and firearm fatalities, as pills turn to heroin, the national epidemic continues to hit home in Ventura County. Prescription painkiller and heroin abuse, further compounded by a recent influx of illegal fentanyl, has created a public health crisis throughout our community.

The Ventura County Rx Abuse & Heroin Workgroup was launched in early 2012 to develop a targeted, local response to the escalating opioid epidemic, part of a nationwide crisis that crosses boundaries and demographics. Opioids have been the most widely-prescribed painkillers for many years, while heroin is an illegal street opioid that is lower cost for a comparable high. Both are extremely addictive, driving the transition for many prescription opioid abusers to the cheaper, more readily available heroin.

Ventura County’s opioid abuse response can be meaningfully focused through a supply-and-demand model first suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and tailored for our local conditions and needs. Reducing the supply of opioids while also decreasing the demand for them, will lead to a greater possibility of improving and saving lives.

We invite you to join us in connecting and enhancing resources to prevent and reduce prescription drug and heroin abuse. Together we can reduce opioid supply, reduce opioid demand, and save lives.



CDC’s Rx Awareness campaign featuring powerful real-life accounts of people recovering from opioid use disorder and from people who have lost loved ones to prescription opioid overdose. Rx Awareness is CDC’s latest effort in the fight against the prescription opioid overdose crisis.

*Sources: In one year in Ventura County...

  • 609,000 prescriptions were given for opioids – Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) (2016) 
  • 1 in 4 autopsies were opioid-related deaths – Ventura County Medical Examiner Office (2018) 
  • 237 lives saved by naloxone – NO OD Overdose Rescue Project (2018) 
  • 1 in 50 babies born with opioid exposure – Ventura County Medical Center estimate 
  • 28,000 illegal pills seized – Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit (2017) 
  • 5 days of use may have led to dependence – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017) 
  • 1 in 7 11th Graders used Rx meds to get high – California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS), Ventura County (2016)
  • 624 entered treatment for opioid use disorder – Ventura County Alcohol and Drug Programs (2017)
  • 1 in 3 people say they know someone addicted – American Psychiatric Association National Poll (2018)
  • 98 opioid overdose hospitalizations – California Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard (CDPH) (2016)
  • 103 opioid overdose ER visits – California Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard (CDPH) (2017)
  • 1 in 5 residents used drug drop-off sites – Ventura County Community Health Survey (2014-15)

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