Settlement Reached in Opioid Suit as Negotiations Continue in CA
California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced a historic $26 billion settlement that will help bring desperately needed relief to people in California and across the country who are struggling with opioid addiction. The settlement includes Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen – the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors – and Johnson & Johnson, a company that manufactured and marketed opioids. Read CSAC’s full response to the announcement here.
“These critical settlement funds are desperately needed to help California’s local communities heal from the severe devastation caused by opioids,” said Graham Knaus, Executive Director of the California State Association of Counties. “We are optimistic and confident that the Attorney General’s Office will negotiate and reach an agreement that provides funding and resources for counties and local communities to address this crisis.”
Upon the news of this national settlement, California’s Counties renew their ongoing commitment to working with the California Attorney General to reach an intrastate allocation agreement. Without such an agreement, counties cannot access funds from this national settlement, even though they are tasked with providing substance use disorder and prevention services on behalf of the state. California’s cities and counties have been in negotiations with the Attorney General’s office since last year, including thwarting legislative efforts to cut local governments out of the national settlement negotiations.
Spotlight: Fentanyl & Fake Pills
Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid, much stronger than other opioids like oxycodone, and is estimated to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. All forms of fentanyl can be dangerous and it’s important to know the differences.
- In its prescription form, fentanyl is used medically to treat severe or long-term pain in patients who need continuous relief.
- Prescription fentanyl is not usually linked to most synthetic opioid harms or overdoses.
However, fentanyl is also illegally manufactured and sold, and is one of the most common drugs associated with overdose deaths in the United States. In Ventura County, from 2019 to 2020 alone, fentanyl contributed significantly to a 45% increase in opioid-related fatal overdoses.
- In most cases, illegal fentanyl is made in Mexico, often supplied with ingredients from China, and the exact formula and potency are often unknown until it’s too late.
- Some drug dealers mix fentanyl with other drugs such as heroin or cocaine, so people might snort, swallow, smoke, or inject it without knowing.
- Fentanyl analogs, such a carfentanil, are chemically related to fentanyl, and are often more toxic.
- Illegal fentanyl and its counterpart, fake pills, are fueling the epidemic of drug overdoses in the United States.
The illicit form of fentanyl is also sold in counterfeit or fake pills, which are disguised as other drugs, frequently as round, blue pills. The deception can be deadly if someone believes they are taking a harmless pill.
- One in four fake pills tested by DEA labs contained a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl.
- Fake pills are sold online and on apps that are popular with teens, who may believe they are buying something safe for anxiety or depression.
- Teens especially may believe that all medicine is safe and be unaware that the pill that appears safe is actually deadly.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day- April 24
April 24, 2021, 10am - 2pm
Ventura County is committed to preventing prescription drug misuse and abuse. One of the ways the county works to address the issue locally is by reducing access, especially to teens. The Ventura County Sheriff's Office in collaboration with Ventura County Behavioral Health established a countywide Rx disposal program that allows residents to safely dispose of unused, unwanted, or expired Rx medication via secure, confidential disposal bins. Over the last several years, this has expanded to other jurisdictions and retail pharmacies.
The DEA’s Take Back Day provides an opportunity to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths. It encourages people to dispose of prescription drugs while also educating the public about the potential for abuse of medications.
What You Can Do
- Commit to safely disposing of your prescription drugs
- Get the facts on Rx & OTC drug abuse
- Dispel the myth that Rx drugs are safe to abuse
- Know the signs and symptoms of drug use
- Monitor and secure all medications
Medication Disposal Drop-off Locations
DEA Take Back Day
Rx Drop-off Day - December 5
Drop off your unused and expired Rx Medications at the Oxnard Police Department's Rx Drop-Off Day on Saturday, December 5!
Featured Resource: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Mind Matters Series
The Mind Matters series is a resource for teachers. Each booklet is devoted to a specific drug or drug group. Hard copies of the booklets in English can be ordered for free and both English and Spanish booklets are available online as printable PDFs. There is an accompanying Teacher’s Guide which includes background information and activities to enhance students’ learning.
OK to Drive?
Many medications can impair your ability to drive, making you an unsafe driver while you’re taking them. It’s against the law to drive when you’re impaired. A prescription doesn’t mean it’s OK to drive.
This campaign, in partnership with the California Office of Traffic Safety, shares the message that pain medication and driving don’t mix! This is part of our Dental Prescribing Toolkit and patient education materials.
Dental Prescribing Toolkit
Teens who are prescribed opioids after their wisdom teeth are removed have a 33% higher risk of opioid misuse later in life.
"Dentists play a pivotal role and have a professional responsibility to reduce the misuse and abuse of opioids..." – California Dental Association
The Ventura County Rx Abuse & Heroin Workgroup, in partnership with the Office of Traffic Safety, is committed to working with the local dental community to reduce opioid misuse and fatal overdoses. Prescribers across the county are experiencing new healthcare challenges and evolving standards for patient care. The Dental Prescribing Toolkit includes information and materials to assist with patient communications on opioids and possible risks.
Working together, we are making a measurable difference locally: to individuals, to families, and to our community.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, October 24
Safe Medication Disposal
Ventura County is actively engaged and committed to preventing prescription drug misuse and abuse. One of the ways the county works to address the issue locally is by reducing access, especially to teens. The Ventura County Sheriff's Office in collaboration with Ventura County Behavioral Health established a countywide Rx disposal program that allows residents to safely dispose of unused, unwanted, or expired Rx medication via secure, confidential disposal bins.
The DEA’s Take Back Day provides an opportunity to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths. The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for abuse of medications.