California is focusing efforts on providing funding, technical assistance, support, and data in order to build and strengthen communities throughout the state. There are more than 50 opioid safety coalitions in California.
In 2018, the Center for Health Leadership and Practice, at the Public Health Institute, established the California Opioid Safety Network (COSN), which supports coalitions and organizations working to combat the opioid crisis in California. COSN provides coaching/mentoring, a statewide forum for peer-to-peer learning, resources and best practices from the field as well as ongoing communications with news updates, informational webinars, and regional convenings. COSN also pairs participating coalitions with Volunteers in Service to America (VISTAs) who support coalition efforts. CDPH's opioid safety coalition program collaborates with the COSN around additional coalition technical assistance and support.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) funded 17 opioid safety coalitions across the state with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funds. Now, with continued CDC and some DHCS SAMHSA funding, CDPH will fund up to 30 opioid safety coalitions over the next three years to support local efforts to reduce the number of opioid and other drug-related overdoses and deaths in California counties through evidence-based and data-informed initiatives. Additionally, CDPH works closely with the COSN to coordinate and align efforts across the state.
Community Coalition Activities
Local coalitions work on a variety of activities at the local level, including: increasing education for physicians by providing training to increase the number of X-Waivered physicians (prescribers certified to provide Buprenorphine), as well as education on the importance of its usage in treating patients with opioid use disorder.
Coalitions have also conducted numerous activities to promote improved opioid safety prescribing and dispensing practices in areas across California with high rates of opioid overdoses and deaths. In 2013, emergency departments in San Diego County worked with the local Medical Society to set voluntary guidelines. The guidelines included checking the CURES database to ensure a patient is not doctor shopping and only dispensing small amounts of opioids when needed.