Updates:

Opioids & Prescription Drugs

May 9, 2022

National Prevention Week

National Prevention Week (NPW) is a national public education platform bringing together communities and organizations to raise awareness about the importance of substance use prevention and positive mental health.

Through National Prevention Week, people become more aware and able to recognize the signs of mental health and substance use disorders. Community members learn how they can help build community, strengthen resilience, and create hope to keep those around them healthy and safe.

Learn more:

National Prevention Week, SAMHSA

April 11, 2022

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day - April 30, 2022 – 10AM To 2PM

The drug overdose epidemic in the United States is a clear and present public health, public safety, and national security threat. DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day reflects DEA’s commitment to Americans’ safety and health, encouraging the public to remove unneeded medications from their homes as a measure of preventing medication misuse and opioid addiction from ever starting.

In Ventura County, more than 200 people die each year from opioid overdoses. Prescription painkiller abuse, rising heroin use, fentanyl and accidental opioid overdoses are part of a nationwide crisis.

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 (VCSO), in collaboration with Ventura County Behavioral Health (VCBH), established a countywide Rx disposal program that allows residents to safely dispose of unused, unwanted, or expired Rx medication via secure, confidential disposal bins. Learn the signs of overdose and how to take action. Find Disposal Bin locations near you.

Learn more:

Ventura County Responds – Safe Medication Disposal

DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

March 9, 2022

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week® , March 21-27

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week®, or NDAFW, is an annual, week-long, health observance that inspires dialogue about the science of drug use and addiction among youth. It provides an opportunity to bring together scientists, students, educators, healthcare providers, and community partners—to help advance the science, so that we can improve the prevention and awareness of substance misuse in our own communities and nationwide. It was launched in 2010 by scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to stimulate educational events in communities so teens can learn what science has taught us about drug use and addiction. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism became a partner in 2016, and alcohol has been added as a topic area for the week.

Learn more:

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week®

January 7, 2022

In the News: Percentage of adolescents reporting drug use decreased significantly in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic endured

December 15, 2021

The percentage of adolescents reporting substance use decreased significantly in 2021, according to the latest results from the Monitoring the Future survey of substance use behaviors and related attitudes among eighth, 10th, and 12th graders in the United States. In line with continued long-term declines in the use of many illicit substances among adolescents previously reported by the Monitoring the Future survey, these findings represent the largest one-year decrease in overall illicit drug use reported since the survey began in 1975. The Monitoring the Future survey is conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.

U.S. Students Reporting Any Past-Year Illicit Drug Use

The 2021 survey reported significant decreases in use across many substances, including those most commonly used in adolescence – alcohol, marijuana, and vaped nicotine. The 2021 decrease in vaping for both marijuana and tobacco follows sharp increases in use between 2017 and 2019, which then leveled off in 2020. This year, the study surveyed students on their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study found that students across all age-groups reported moderate increases in feelings of boredom, anxiety, depression, loneliness, worry, difficulty sleeping, and other negative mental health indicators since the beginning of the pandemic.

Learn more:

NIDA. 2021, December 15. Percentage of adolescents reporting drug use decreased significantly in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic endured.

November 17, 2021

Statement by President Joe Biden on Surpassing 100,000 American Overdose Deaths in the Past Year

“Today, new data reveal that our nation has reached a tragic milestone: more than 100,000 lives were lost to the overdose epidemic from April of last year to April of this year. As we continue to make strides to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot overlook this epidemic of loss, which has touched families and communities across the country."

As we grieve those we’ve lost and honor their memories, my Administration is committed to doing everything in our power to address addiction and end the overdose epidemic. Through the American Rescue Plan, we’ve delivered nearly $4 billion to strengthen and expand services for substance use disorder and mental health. We’re working to make health coverage more accessible and affordable for all Americans, so that more people who need care can get it. We are strengthening prevention, promoting harm reduction, expanding treatment, and supporting people in recovery, as well as reducing the supply of harmful substances in our communities. And we won’t let up.

To all those families who have mourned a loved one and to all those people who are facing addiction or are in recovery: you are in our hearts, and you are not alone. Together, we will turn the tide on this epidemic.”

Learn more:

Read the Proclamation

October 6, 2021

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23 - 10 AM TO 2 PM

Saving Lives

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

Learn more:

Medication Disposal Drop-off Locations

DEA Take Back Day

takebackday.dea.gov

August 30, 2021

A Proclamation on Overdose Awareness Week, 2021

THE WHITE HOUSE

AUGUST 27, 2021

The overdose epidemic has taken a toll on far too many Americans and their loved ones. Addiction is a disease that touches families in every community, including my own. The epidemic is national, but the impact is personal. It is personal to the millions who confront substance use disorder every day, and to the families who have lost loved ones to an overdose. During Overdose Awareness Week, we recommit to taking bold actions to prevent overdoses and related deaths, and enhance our support for individuals with substance use disorders.

In recent years, we have seen synthetic opioids, such as illicitly manufactured fentanyl, drive many overdose deaths with cocaine- and methamphetamine-related deaths also increasing at alarming rates. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the overdose epidemic, as necessary pandemic restrictions made it harder for individuals with addiction to receive the treatment and support services they need. These factors contributed to the more than 93,000 drug overdose deaths in 2020.  As a Nation, we need a strong response to America’s overdose epidemic and an investment in prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery services, as well as strategies to reduce the supply of illicit drugs.  

Read more:

A Proclamation on Overdose Awareness Week, 2021

July 22, 2021

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.

Learn more:

California State Association of Counties

July 13, 2021

Spotlight: Fentanyl & Fake Pills

FENTANYL

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.

FAKE PILLS

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.

Learn more:

Ventura County Responds, Fentanyl & Fake Pills

March 31, 2021

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

Learn more:

Medication Disposal Drop-off Locations

www.venturacountyresponds.org/medication-safety/safe-medication-disposal

DEA Take Back Day

takebackday.dea.gov

December 2, 2020

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!

November 13, 2020

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.

> Learn more at NIDA.

November 2, 2020

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.

Learn more:

October 21, 2020

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.

Learn more:

Dental Prescribing Toolkit

October 21, 2020

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.

Learn more: