News: Overdose deaths in Ventura County spiked in 2020, largely due to fentanyl
Ventura County saw a spike in overdose deaths in 2020, driven largely by a powerful synthetic opioid, a new report shows. Fatal overdoses reached 217 in 2020, a jump of more than 45% compared to the prior year, according to an annual report from the Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office. A few years ago, when there were reports about fentanyl in other parts of the country, we weren't seeing that many deaths from it here in Ventura County," said Dr. Christopher Young, the county's chief medical examiner. “This is a dangerous drug that's in our community and causing these deaths," Young said.
Source: Ventura County Star
Special Report: 2020 Fatal Overdoses
- Total overdose deaths between 2019 and 2020 increased by 68 (45.6% increase). Compared to the previous year, accidental overdoses for 2020 increased by 75 while suicidal overdoses decreased by 5.
- Fentanyl and benzodiazepine deaths increased significantly in 2020 compared to 2019. Fentanyl contributed to 54 more deaths than the previous year. Benzodiazepines contributed to 34 more deaths than the previous year.
- The highest number of overdose deaths in 2020 were between ages 31 to 40 years (49 deaths) and of these deaths, 24 involved fentanyl.
- Overdose deaths in Ventura County spiked in 2020, largely due to fentanyl, Ventura County Star, March 3, 2021
- Special Report: 2020 Fatal Overdoses, County of Ventura, Medical Examiner’s Office
- Opioid Data Dashboard, COAST Ventura County
Cocaine, Meth & Stimulant Summit
Guest Post, Sheila Murphy, COAST Grant Administrator
Led by multi-disciplinary experts from across the nation, the Cocaine, Meth & Stimulant Summit provides the most extensive educational experience for professionals on the frontlines of this rising epidemic.
The Cocaine, Meth & Stimulant Summit was held virtually from November 20-22, 2020. During a year in which conferences via Zoom have become the norm, the Summit came off seamlessly, while also informative and relevant. In its third year, the Cocaine, Meth & Stimulant Summit is the only educational event focused on addressing the Stimulant crisis. Drug overdoses in this country were increasing prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and have increased exponentially since March of this year.
Presentations included 28 live discussions, and two educational tracks, with field experts and change makers who work daily to address this emergency compounding the opioid epidemic. It provided a roster of clinical, law enforcement, and public health professionals with practical strategies and solutions. Stimulants have become increasingly prevalent in overdoses and addiction nationally and locally.
A session I attended on “Applying Best Practices to Communicate about Drug Overdose Prevention” shared that opioids were responsible for 60% of overdose deaths in 2018 across the country and sadly only 10% of those addicted to opioids ever receive treatment. Older people are less likely than the general population to perceive themselves at risk for addiction. Prevention communications about the dangers of opioid addiction to caregivers and first responders is essential.
Watch for my updates where I’ll share some more about lessons learned at the Summit.
Stats: 2.2 million people are current users of cocaine; 6 million Americans misuse prescription stimulants; 964,000 people aged 12 and older have a meth use disorder; and 0 is the number of FDA-approved medications to treat stimulant use disorder.
Opioid Summaries by State
Opioid-involved overdose deaths dropped in 2018. Learn how the Opioid Crisis is affecting your state.
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.
Opioid Withdrawal Raises Health Risks for Injection Drug Users: Study
Having opioid withdrawal symptoms increases the odds that injection drug users will share needles or have a non-fatal overdose, new research suggests. For the study, the researchers questioned more than 800 injection drug users in San Francisco and Los Angeles. "Withdrawal is one of the main chronic health challenges for this population, and we need to be intervening on it," said lead author Ricky Bluthenthal. He's associate dean for social justice at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine, in Los Angeles. An average 130 people a day die in the United States from an opioid overdose, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Needle sharing increases a person's risk of infections such as HIV and hepatitis, as well as other serious health problems, the CDC says.
News: Lethally potent counterfeit pills taking more lives with drug overdoses in Ventura County
More Ventura County drug abusers are overdosing on pills that look like real medications but are often spiked with a lethally potent synthetic opioid, according to authorities. While the overall number of overdoses appears to be holding steady, authorities are seeing a lower proportion from the street forms of drugs that are injected or smoked, according to the Ventura County Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit. Instead, the trend since the last quarter of 2019 is toward look-alikes of commonly abused prescription pills.