A bottle filled with opioid pain pills.

How California is Combating the Opioid Epidemic

For over a decade now, the opioid epidemic has plagued a majority of the United States – effecting ever-increasing numbers of people with varying degrees of addiction all over the country.

While the rise in opioid use disorders has been attributed to a number of factors, from lackadaisical prescribing practices by physicians to poor oversight and information regarding the severity of opioids provided to patients, the negative results have reverberated dramatically throughout a number of once quiet communities.

In the past, the notion of an opioid use disorder, such as a heroin addict struggling with the disease, was typically associated with urban development or sections of lower socioeconomic status. Those past assumptions no longer apply to this ever-expanding epidemic, with the number of opioid addicts skyrocketing within suburban communities and among working professionals with minimal prior addictive issues.

Due to this rising tide of opioid addiction, states and cities around the country are increasing efforts to address the growing need for qualified therapeutic services to combat the number of people requiring clinical interventions.

While each state is approaching the crisis in differing methods, the primary focus has been to expand the availability of clinical services without losing the quality of the services being delivered. This has been of the utmost importance since the addiction rates and death tolls associated with opioid addiction has risen exponentially over the past decade.

In particular, California has proven instrumental in leading the charge toward combating the opioid epidemic through a number of creative and clinically sound therapeutic approaches. By taking the initiative to address this expanding social issue, the state has recently taken strides to stem the rising tide of opioid addiction within their region.

Opioid Epidemic in California: Facts and Stats

While California has made tremendous efforts to champion the idea of increased treatment options and therapeutic services for people struggling with an opioid addiction, the number of individuals impacted by the disease living in the state has been staggering.

In 2017 alone:

  • Over 2,000 people died from opioid related deaths within the state
  • There were over 400 deaths attributed to fentanyl alone
  • Over 4,000 opioid overdose incidents were reported within the state
  • Fueling the staggering addiction statistics were the nearly 22 million opioid prescriptions handed out within the state1

These numbers and prescribing practices have been the primary reasons that California has ranked number one in relation to opioid overdoses in recent years.

According to one well connected health care advocate, California prescribes enough opioids every year to kill every Californian more than twice.

These statistics and approach to opioid distribution within the state has been a primary catalyst behind the state’s recent push to expand clinical services and overall education regarding opioid addiction and the dangers associated with the disease.2

How California is Combating the Opioid Epidemic

The state has made efforts to think outside of the box and address the opioid epidemic through a series of initiatives aimed at increasing public awareness, while simultaneously addressing the already staggering numbers of current opioid addicts within the region. A few of these community-based state initiatives include:

  • The California Bridge Program which focuses on early intervention for individuals brought to the emergency room for opioid addiction and overdose symptoms. The idea behind this initiative is to train ER personnel to identify and recommend early intervention therapy in order to increase access to around-the-clock substance use disorder treatment.
  • The Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Initiative (PDOPI) is a collaborative effort to implement a number of proactive addiction interventions. These interventions include increasing oversight on prescribing practices, increasing state-funded education and support to all health care providers, implementing school-based substance addiction education programs, and developing a statewide media education campaign for patients and consumers.
  • California’s statewide standing order for Nalaxone, which was initiated by the California State Health Office and involves an initiative to facilitate the distribution and administration of Nalaxone within the entire region. Under this push, organizations within the state do not need to be working directly with a physician in order to hand out and administer the lifesaving drug to individuals struggling with addiction.

Through preemptive education, increased oversight, and expanded access to clinical interventions, the state is hoping to not only curb the rising tide of opioid addiction within the area, but to also begin turning around the destructive trend the substance has created.

Programs like this aim to embrace those struggling with an opioid addiction and treat the disease proactively, in the hope to save countless lives and begin decreasing the terrible toll that opioids have had on the entire country.3

Life-Changing, Holistic Opioid Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

For any addict who wants to regain control over their entire life, they must believe that their life can begin again. It is our firm belief at Ranch Creek Recovery that addicts can recover from their disease and rebuild abstinent, productive lives. If you have a loved one who is in the grips of an opioid addiction, there is help.

We address addiction recovery and relapse prevention head on through our non-12-step, individualized, holistic addiction treatment programs. Our team of treatment experts will work one-on-one with your loved one to create a custom treatment and recovery plan that will help them feel confident and ready to enter their new, sober life.

Learn more about Ranch Creek Recovery, including our opiate detox and rehab programs.

Have questions? We’re here to help. Contact us today.

References:

1 California Department of Public Health. California Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard/California Quick Stats. Accessed April 20, 2019. https://discovery.cdph.ca.gov/CDIC/ODdash/.

2 The San Diego Union-Tribune. How California ranks in the nation’s opioid epidemic. Accessed April 20, 2019. https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/health/sd-me-opioid-conference-20171108-story.html.

3 California Department of Public Health. Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Initiative. Accessed April 20, 2019. https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DCDIC/SACB/Pages/PrescriptionDrugOverdoseProgram.aspx.

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