In 2015, a number of concerned citizens of the northern Sierra Nevada began to notice an increase in the amount of overdoses among our rural population. In a study conducted from 2008 to 2012, Plumas County was tragically ranked the number-one county in California for death rates related to prescription-opioid overdoses. In Lassen County, there are enough opioids prescribed to keep every man, woman, and child medicated around the clock for 15 weeks each year. Modoc and Sierra both reported dramatic increases in opioid dependencies and an influx of heroin entering the area.
Plumas County Public Health Agency received funding from the California Health Care Foundation and the California Department of Public Health to form a coalition to work towards reversing the rate of overdoses. The Northern Sierra Opioid Safety Coalition was formed in early 2016 with partners from Lassen, Sierra, and Modoc Counties to address the issue of opioid abuse regionally.
The coalition will tackle this problem head on using three proven interventions: promoting safe-prescribing practices, increasing access to medication-assisted addiction treatment, and increasing access to Naloxone, the life-saving opioid blocker that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.
To learn more about how the coalition plans to address the regional problem, click here.