September is National Recovery Month
Recovery is For Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community
Recovery Month is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life.
Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those in recovery, just as we celebrate health improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. This observance reinforces the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.
There are millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery. Since these successes often go unnoticed by the broader population, Recovery Month provides a vehicle for everyone to celebrate these accomplishments.
The 2021 theme, “Recovery is For Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community,” reminds people in recovery and those who support them that no one is alone in the journey through recovery. Everyone's journey is different, but we are all in this together. Recovery Month will continue to educate others about substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders, the effectiveness of treatment and recovery services, and that recovery is possible. All of us, from celebrities and sports figures to our co-workers, neighbors, friends, and family members, throughout our lives have experienced peaks and valleys, both big and small. But with strength, support, and hope from the people we love, we are resilient.
Ventura County Launches COAST Opioid Data Dashboard
Fewer Overdoses and Increased Access to Care Are Priorities
Ventura County agencies are working together to reduce illicit opioid supply, decrease opioid demand, and save lives. By sharing and comparing data, we can leverage information, analyze trends, and target resources to respond to this evolving public health crisis.
On September 1st, The Ventura County Behavioral Health Department (VCBH) launched a public-facing data dashboard that provides the community with important statistics around opioid involved drug use. The public can access this user-friendly dashboard by visiting www.coastventuracounty.org.
“Local trends and resources, including addiction treatment locations, prescription drug drop-off locations, and overdose prevention strategies are featured. This is a one-stop site."
— Dr. Loretta Denering, Chief, Substance Use Services Division
As a response to the opioid crisis, VCBH has prioritized increased access to care for opioid users. In October of 2018, VCBH was awarded a federal grant, that in collaboration with multiple agencies, including Public Health, Emergency Medical Services, Ambulatory Care, Sheriff’s Office and the Medical Examiner’s Office, has allowed for more innovative ways to address the crisis. One of the grant deliverables was to create this dashboard for the community, in addition to tracking the nature and extent of the crisis locally, as well as providing more services to the public, especially those with an opioid use disorder.
VCBH provides a continuum of care for substance use and addiction problems, with six locations and access to a range of treatment services for achieving and maintaining recovery.
“Getting help for addiction starts with taking fifteen minutes to call the Access Line, or visiting our dashboard. We want people to get to the help they need."
— Dr. Sevet Johnson, Director, Ventura County Behavioral Health
If you believe you or a family member may be struggling with addiction, talk to your healthcare provider or call the confidential 24/7 Access Line: 1-844-385-9200.
View Promotion Resources
Coast Data Dashboard
Video: Effects of COVID-19 on the Opioid Crisis, with Francis Collins and Nora Volkow
NIH Director, Dr. Francis Collins and NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic may be escalating the opioid crisis and efforts to adapt research as a result of the convergence of two drastic health crises.
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, July 6, 2020
The Opioid Crisis and the Hispanic/Latino Population: An Urgent Issue
SAMHSA’s Office of Behavioral Health Equity is pleased to announce a new issue brief: The Opioid Crisis and the Hispanic/Latino Population: An Urgent Issue. The opioid crisis has not abated and has had a significant impact on Hispanic/Latino communities in the U.S. This issue brief presents recent data on prevalence of opioid misuse and death rates in the Hispanic/Latino population; contextual factors and challenges to prevention and treatment; innovative outreach and engagement strategies to connect people to evidence-based treatment; and the importance of community voice.
COVID-19 Resources and Substance Use Disorders
The COVID-19 pandemic presents unique challenges for people with substance use disorders and in recovery. The following resources from Dr. Nora Volkow, NIDA Director, may help. See interviews with Dr. Volkow and read the FAQs on COVID-19 and Addiction/Substance Use Disorder.
The Opioid Crisis and the Black/African American Population: An Urgent Issue
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by SAMHSA’s Office of Behavioral Health Equity, March 2020
The opioid crisis has not abated and has had a significant impact on African American communities. This issue brief presents recent data on prevalence of opioid misuse and death rates in the Black/ African American population; contextual factors and challenges to prevention and treatment; innovative outreach and engagement strategies to connect people to evidence-based treatment; and the importance of community voice.
Vaping, Opioid Addiction Accelerate Coronavirus Risks, Says NIDA Director
Volkow spoke with Kaiser Health News about the emerging science around COVID-19’s relationship to vaping and to opioid use disorder, as well as how these underlying epidemics could increase people’s risks. In 2018, opioid overdoses claimed about 47,000 American lives. Last year, federal authorities reported that 5.4 million middle and high school students vaped. And just two months ago, about 2,800 cases of vaping-associated lung injuries resulted in hospitalizations; 68 people died. Until mid-March, these numbers commanded attention. But as the coronavirus death toll climbs and the economic costs of attempting to control its spread wreak havoc, the public health focus is now dramatically different.
Addressing the Stigma that Surrounds Addiction
Untreated drug and alcohol use contribute to tens of thousands of deaths every year and impact the lives of many more. Healthcare already has effective tools including medications for opioid and alcohol use disorder that could prevent many of these deaths, but they are not being utilized widely enough, and many people who could benefit do not even seek them out. One important reason is the stigma that surrounds people with addiction.
NIDA. (2020, April 22). Addressing the Stigma that Surrounds Addiction.
Coronavirus Crisis Spurs Access To Online Treatment For Opioid Addiction
Opioid addiction isn't taking a break during the coronavirus pandemic, but the U.S. response to the viral crisis is making addiction treatment easier to get. Opioid addiction isn't taking a break during the coronavirus pandemic. But the U.S. response to the viral crisis is making addiction treatment easier to get. Under the national emergency declared by the Trump administration in March, the government has suspended a federal law that required patients to have an in-person visit with a physician before they could be prescribed drugs that help quell withdrawal symptoms, such as Suboxone. Patients can now get those prescriptions via a phone call or videoconference with a doctor
HHS Official: ‘Fourth Wave’ Looms in Drug Crisis
Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit 2020
Despite overall drug overdose-related deaths decreasing in 2018, other statistics indicate a rising “fourth wave” in the nation’s substance use disorder crisis means there is more work to be done, federal officials said in addresses presented during the evening plenary session of the virtual Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit on Wednesday.
Admiral Brett Giroir, MD, assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said methamphetamine-associated deaths saw a 20% to 30% year-over-year increase in 2018, with methamphetamine-associated deaths overtaking those linked to prescription opioids and heroin, with cocaine soon to be next. Polysubstance use is now the norm, Giroir said, noting that methamphetamine and illicit fentanyl or fentayl analogue use together is on the rise.
DEA releases 2020 Drugs of Abuse Resource Guide
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has released the 2020 edition of Drugs of Abuse, A DEA Resource Guide, which is designed to be a reliable resource on the most commonly abused and misused drugs in the United States. Drugs of Abuse provides important science-based information about the harms and consequences of drug use, describing a drug’s effects on the body and mind, overdose potential, origin, legal status, and other key factors.
Researchers: Hope is on the horizon
Many clinical trials and research initiatives targeted to the opioid crisis have had to be placed on hold while our country focuses on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the potential that awaits just over the horizon is encouraging, stated two of the country’s leading researchers. Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – both long-time contributors to the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit – joined Thursday, April 16, for a conversation to discuss the status of promising research.
U.S. Representatives: Don’t Dial Back Opioid Response Now
RX Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit.
In Wednesday’s morning plenary session in the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, three U.S. representatives expressed cautious optimism about the nation’s drug overdose death rate dropping by 4.6% in 2018—the first decline recorded in decades—but added that neither that development nor the COVID-19 crisis is a reason to throttle back now.
“For the first time in literally 20 years, the number of Americans who lost their lives to opioid overdose declined. Think about that. That’s bending the curve in a productive way. But obviously, the fight is not over. We’ll have to continue in the years ahead to devote additional resources to research, law enforcement and, most importantly, finding ways to help folks who have become addicted—usually through no fault of their own, usually by following a legitimate prescription given to them by a medical professional."
For Drug Users, COVID-19 Poses Added Dangers
The National Institute on Drug Abuse director warns the coronavirus could increase the pressure to use, cause complicated health effects and curtail access to treatment for those struggling with addiction. As the novel coronavirus spreads and more states issue stay-at-home orders in the U.S., the head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse says social isolation and overburdened health systems could paint a dire picture for people struggling with addiction.
"Every one of us is affected by COVID – maybe we don't get infected, (but) we're all anxious because of the uncertainties" surrounding it, NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow says. "How we cope with that anxiety is very much dependent on multiple factors, including our circumstances, but one of the ways that people cope with it is by taking drugs."
Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit 2020
The Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, a 2020 Virtual Experience, begins today through April 16. VCBH staff have been attending the Rx Summit since its inception in 2012. We brought back the inspiration and the momentum of the Rx Summit annually to inform our efforts to address the opioid crisis at home in Ventura County.
“The same power, the same drive that prompted you to be a part of the solution – to beat back the opioid epidemic, to save lives, and bring illegal drug dealers to justice – it’s that same victorious spirit that will carry this nation through the coronavirus pandemic. Together, we have witnessed a dramatic shift in the stigma behind drug abuse, and most importantly we have seen the number of overdose deaths finally decrease across the country – falling from more than 70,000 in 2017 to under 68,000 in 2018, according to the CDC. It’s a direct result of your comprehensive work. We have ambushed the opioid epidemic on every side – through improvements in law enforcement, treatment and education.” - Congressman Hal Rogers
COVID-19: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders
We know very little right now about COVID-19 and even less about its intersection with substance use disorders. But we can make educated guesses based on past experience that people with compromised health due to smoking or vaping and people with opioid, methamphetamine, cannabis, and other substance use disorders could find themselves at increased risk of COVID-19 and its more serious complications—for multiple physiological and social/environmental reasons. The research community should thus be alert to associations between COVID-19 case severity/mortality and substance use, smoking or vaping history, and smoking- or vaping-related lung disease. We must also ensure that patients with substance use disorders are not discriminated against if a rise in COVID-19 cases places added burden on our healthcare system.
NIDA. (2020, April 6). COVID-19: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2020/04/covid-19-potential-implications-individuals-substance-use-disorders on 2020, April 10
NIDA director outlines potential risks to people who smoke and use drugs during COVID-19 pandemic
The precarious intersection of the COVID-19 national health emergency and the concurrent epidemic of drug overdose deaths is outlined in the Annals of Internal Medicine this week by Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Volkow discusses how the serious health risks of COVID-19 pose unique challenges to people who smoke or vape, are already struggling with substance use disorders (SUD), or are in recovery from addiction.
People recovering from addiction now face new challenges. Physical distancing measures, while critical to COVID-19 mitigation, eliminate the important element of social support needed for addiction recovery. Additionally, people with opioid use disorder may face barriers to obtaining medications (i.e., buprenorphine or methadone) or obtaining services from syringe services programs. Social distancing will also decrease the likelihood of observed overdoses; administration of naloxone to reverse overdose may be less likely, potentially resulting in more fatalities.
NIDA. (2020, April 2). NIDA Director outlines potential risks to people who smoke and use drugs during COVID-19 pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2020/04/nida-director-outlines-potential-risks-to-people-who-smoke-use-drugs-during-covid-19-pandemic on 2020, April 2
COVID-19: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders
As people across the U.S. and the rest of the world contend with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the research community should be alert to the possibility that it could hit some populations with substance use disorders (SUDs) particularly hard. People with opioid use disorder (OUD) and methamphetamine use disorder may also be vulnerable due to those drugs’ effects on respiratory and pulmonary health.
Source: NIDA. (2020, March 12). COVID-19: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2020/03/covid-19-potential-implications-individuals-substance-use-disorders on 2020, March 20
COVID-19 is an Emerging, Rapidly Evolving Situation, NIDA
Stay updated at the National Institute on Drug Abuse on the latest news about COVID-19.