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Community Partnerships

CDPH works with local organizations and coalitions across California to tackle challenging public health issues impacting our diverse communities. Here are a few highlights from some of these collaborative efforts.

Opioid Overdose Prevention

The CDPH Substance Addiction​ and Pr​evention Branch is working to reduce opioid and other drug-related overdoses and deaths in California by supporting 21 local overdose safety coalitions representing 25 counties throughout the state. CDPH provides funding, technical assistance, peer-to-peer learning opportunities and data to guide coalition activities.

Coalitions focus on overdose prevention, awareness and education, and distribution of fentanyl test strips and naloxone—a life-saving medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. They drive efforts in the development of local opioid policies and procedures, expansion of access to medication-assisted treatment and promotion of safe prescribing practices.

Learn more about how OD Free Marin, SafeRx Santa Cruz County and the SLO Opioid Safety Coalition are making an impact in their communities through education and prevention, and efforts to decrease stigma, misuse and opioid overdoses.​

 
OD Free Marin 

OD Free Marin

In Marin County, fatal overdoses and drug poisonings have doubled since January 2020 and are the leading cause of accidental death. The county sees more than one fatal overdose or drug poisoning each week, and two nonfatal overdoses each day. These overdoses are primarily driven by the increased use of a strong synthetic opioid called fentanyl.


Resources Provided

OD Free Marin provides essential prevention, education and management of substance use disorders to residents. Access to medicated-assisted treatment can decrease opioid misuse and opioid-related deaths and overdoses. The organization connects community members to resources for medication-assisted treatment—an effective treatment for opioid use disorder that combines behavioral therapy, counseling and FDA approved medications.

Resources include ODFreeMarin​, the Crisit Text Line (text MARIN to 741741), Suicide and Crisis warmline (988), the county’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services’ Access line (1-888-1115) and Marin Behavioral Health and Recovery services website​.


Community Impact

All Marin County TK–12 schools have access to naloxone for on-campus use. In partnership with the Marin County Office of Education, OD Free Marin trains teams of educators in middle and high schools on the administration of naloxone. The organization also supports educators in the development of their own substance use prevention curriculum.

In partnership with Marin Healthy Youth Partnerships’ Let’s Talk​, OD Free Marin distributes more than 3,000 substance use educational booklets to junior heigh school families each year.​


Community Priority

A priority for OD Free Marin is to reduce the stigma behind opioid use disorders. This can be addressed through the opportunity to tell real stories of people who have either struggled with or lost loved ones with opioid use disorders. There is also a need to address the connections between mental health, risk of suicide and substance use.​​​​

 
Safer Rx 

SafeRX Santa Cruz

According to the 2021 Opioid Safety Data Report for Santa Cruz County,  105,558 opioid prescriptions were written, 57 residents died of an opioid overdose or poisoning and 42 of those deaths were related to fentanyl. While traditionally used in the hospital setting by doctors, the illegal manufacturing of illicit fentanyl has flooded the United States’ street drug supply—posing an increased risk for overdose and mortality due to its high potency.

SafeRX Santa Cruz​ serves as the substance use safety coalition under the Health Improvement Partnership of Santa Cruz County and is dedicated to creating a healthy, safe and equitable Santa Cruz. Comprised of social service, government, behavioral health and healthcare organizations, the coalition and its partners implement best practices to help combat the opioid crisis and other substance use issues.

 

Resources Provided

In addition to prevention and education efforts, SafeRx works with community groups to address substance use through several initiatives. These consist of prescription medication safety for patients and clinicians, collaboration with substance use navigators and access to medication-assisted treatment and harm-reduction practices, including access to free naloxone.

Through the utilization of the California Department of Health Care Services’ (DHCS) Naloxone Distribution Project, SafeRx has made access to naloxone a priority. “BARCAN,” a six-month project, distributes Narcan (brand name for naloxone) at local bars and trains staff on its use. BARCAN is currently active in six bars in the county while another four carry free Narcan.

 

Community Impact

SafeRx serves Santa Cruz County and works closely with Monterey and San Benito Counties in a tri-county effort. Relationship building has been a key part of the program’s impact. They work alongside coroner and emergency medical services to combat the opioid epidemic and engage other county partners in using overdose data to better plan efforts.

 

Community Priority

Awareness of naloxone as a lifesaving tool is imperative in Santa Cruz and throughout the state. Addressing misinformation and stigma behind substance use is a vital component to the success of treatment and recovery. Other goals for SafeRx include school policy, building a cohesive curriculum and developing interconnected systems. ​

Resources for monolingual speakers in languages other than English are an urgent priority to educating the Santa Cruz community. There is also a great need to address the impact of systemic racism on substance use disorders, stigma and stereotypes about communities of color. ​​​​​

 
SLO Opioid Safety Coalition 

SLO Opioid Safety Coalition

According to the 2021 San Luis Obispo County Coroner’s Office, 76% of the county’s overdose deaths were opioid related. The SLO Opioid Safety Coalition is a collaborative effort driven by action teams consisting of community members, law enforcement, health care and treatment professionals, and public and behavioral health departments. Action teams gather three times a year to collaborate, share their accomplishments and strategize on future goals. Teams consist of data collection and monitoring, safe prescribing and health care, medication-assisted treatment and naloxone.

 

Resources Provided

The coalition provides outreach and education on opioid overdose prevention, naloxone and harm reduction tools, and resources for treatment. The naloxone action team focuses on educational opportunities and the expansion of distribution locations with support from the DHCS Naloxone Distribution Project. SLO County residents can visit Naloxone Now SLO for naloxone information, overdose prevention training and access to free naloxone.

 

Community Impact

Through its community-wide approach, the coalition works to destigmatize the use of naloxone and increase its availability in the community. It engages all sectors of the community, including schools, businesses, social service providers and parents in understanding the effect of opioids and empowers community members to act.

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 Community Priority

Priorities for the SLO Opioid Safety Coalition include an increase in access to treatment services and youth education. To reach these goals, the coalition aims to build strong networks to connect providers to individuals through a seamless, non-intimidating process.

Community involvement and support are vital components to the prevention of overdoses, particularly among youth. By providing educational resources to K–12 schools and parent/caregiver training on how to discuss opioid misuse and the risks of a fentanyl overdose—they can help save lives while combatting the opioid epidemic.​​

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