California Confronts Opioid Addiction

California Confronts Opioid Addiction

Source: CALMatters

California is confronting opioid addiction, although it hasn’t been impacted as much as other states like Arizona, though there are hot spots of addiction mostly in rural areas. Compounding the issue in rural areas that the economic recovery didn’t reach is a lack of jobs and a feeling of hopelessness. A passionate doctor named Candy Stockton calls opioid addiction “an epidemic of despair.”Last year, the volume of prescribed opioids in California fell 12 percent, and there was a bump of 7 percent in the number of people receiving medications that treat addiction, according to state data.

California’s opioid death rates are among the nation’s lowest, but experts aren’t sure why. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 91 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose. The drugs now kill more people each year than car crashes. In California, 11 out of 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2015, making it the 7th lowest in the nation. West Virginia is the highest at 41 per 100,000.

“If California were divided up into several states … then parts of our state, principally the north, would be a disaster area as bad as West Virginia,” said Dr. Kelly Pfeifer, an opioid expert at Oakland-based California Health Care Foundation.

In 2015, state and local health leaders created opioid safety coalitions in California, which have expanded access to naloxone and medication-assisted treatment. It’s an unusual state-backed program involving law enforcement, government and health officials in each community, Pfeifer said.

“You have to work locally, because L.A. and Modoc County couldn’t be more different,” she said. Source: Los Angeles Times

Trinity County is the state’s fourth-smallest, and ended last year with an estimated population of 13,628 people. Its residents also filled prescriptions for oxycodone, hydrocodone and other opioids 18,439 times, the highest per capita rate in California.

The problem also has a decidedly geographic dimension in California. In rural and semi-rural parts of the state, where the demographics resemble Appalachia more than Anaheim, prescription drug use and death rates vastly exceed the state average, state data show. Source: Sacramento Bee

How to Dispose of Prescription Medicine in California

What are consumers to do the rest of the year if they want a safe alternative to flushing unwanted drugs down the toilet or tossing them into the garbage? Drugs that are flushed can taint our rivers, lakes and water supplies. Drugs in the trash also may harm the environment, and can be found by children, pets – and even adults looking for a high.

“It’s very time-consuming and you may get the runaround,” warns Heidi Sanborn, executive director of the California Product Stewardship Council, a nonprofit that created the website (The group also calls on pharmaceutical companies to share in the cost of drug disposal.)

There are a growing number of year-round disposal sites in California, but your options depend largely on where you live and what kind of drugs you’re trying to unload. Source: The Modesto Bee

If you are in California, you can also contact your local pharmacy or clinic and ask if they are working with RxDisposal as a solution for medication disposal. Contact us for details on how you can help. 1.800.307.2514

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