The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors approved a proclamation on Tuesday to observe Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month, part of a statewide effort to draw attention to an epidemic that causes thousands of deaths nationwide every year.
Also Tuesday, Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) issued a health advisory regarding prescription opioid misuse. CCHS works closely with local medical providers and community partners to combat the prevalence and misuse of opioid painkillers such as hydrocodone (Norco), oxycodone (OxyContin), morphine and fentanyl.
The advisory urges all local medical providers to follow the prescribing guidelines developed by the Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association and already in use at all county hospitals and urgent care clinics.
Contra Costa is also working to expand the availability of substance use disorder treatment programs and medication-assisted treatment to combat opioid addiction, and working with community partners to offer training and access to Naloxone, a drug that can reverse life-threatening opioid overdoses.
The most recent data from the California Department of Public Health show that annual incidence of accidental drug overdose deaths has surged in Contra Costa County, from 53 in 2003 to 111 in 2014. Prescription drugs were involved in the majority of those cases in 2014.
Read the health advisory at cchealth.org/providers/
Up-to-date information about California’s opioid epidemic, including county statistics for deaths, overdose-related visits to emergency departments, and per-capita prescriptions for opioid medications, is available through the California Department of Public Health’s new Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard: pdop.shinyapps.io/ODdash_v1/
Contra Costa Public Health Director Dan Peddycord, Alcohol & Other Drugs Program Director Fatima Matal Sol and April Rovero, chair of the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse are available today for interviews regarding the local impact of prescription opioid abuse.