Humboldt’s Opioid Prescription Rate Dropping

Prescription drugs

Prescription drugs [Image from the FDA]

Press release from the Department of Health and Human Services in Humboldt County:

The amount of opioids prescribed in Humboldt County is going down. Opioids are a type of painkiller that can have serious side effects including overdose and death. Since 2009, more people have died from opioid overdose than car crashes in the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made fighting the opioid epidemic a public health priority.

According to the CDC, one in four people who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain develop issues with addiction. The CDC has released new prescribing guidelines to try to curb the epidemic.

Since 2010, the amount of opioids prescribed in Humboldt County has decreased by 23 percent. The number of opioid prescriptions per person has gone down 11 percent, from 128.6 to 114 prescriptions per 100 people. More Humboldt prescribers are using CURES, the California prescription drug monitoring system, which helps prevent prescription opiate misuse.

These reductions are due in part to the efforts of Rx Safe Humboldt, a community coalition focused on reducing harms from opioids. Coalition members include local doctors and nurses, community members, pharmacists, public health and mental health professionals, and local organizations including the Humboldt Independent Practice Association (IPA).

Coalition efforts are focused on changing prescribing practices, providing alternative treatments for chronic pain, increasing access to medication assisted treatment, increasing access to the overdose antidote Naloxone, and providing safe ways to dispose of expired and used medications.

Rx Safe Humboldt created a resource guide with information on non-pharmaceutical approaches to pain management. The guide includes a list of providers for acupuncture, chiropractic work, strength training, massage and other non-pharmaceutical therapies. The guide is available at www.rxsafehumboldt.org/.

On Sept. 22, Rx Safe Humboldt will bring partners together to address Humboldt County’s opioid epidemic. The event will be at the Sequoia Conference Center and will include live streamed presentations and sessions from a statewide convening of opioid safety coalitions in Oakland. Topics include how to treat chronic pain, discussion of the opioid epidemic, and breakout sessions about law enforcement efforts, Naloxone and others.

To register for this event, go to www.chcf.org/events/2016/events-opioid-safety-coalitions-fall-convenings.

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14 comments

  • This will drive opiate users back to the streets where drugs are not regulated safe or clean.

    From my experience, from back when I was a medical first responder, the frequency of overdoses increased when users change suppliers. They think that their new dealer has cut their drugs too much, so they use more and OD.

    The new methods of pain management will help some people, but others visit doctors just for the drugs, we will lose them.

    • There is no one solution that could be a cure-all. It’s a step in the right direction, so that people who aren’t already dependent, don’t become so. I can’t tell you how many times I went to the doctor or hospital with stomach pains that could not be explained, and they’d just throw a prescription at me–not just prescription grade Ibuprofen or Tylenol, but the highest stuff on the market. I’ve only run into that once or twice now that I’m not on Medi-Cal and make a decent living (which in turn, “changed my outward appearance”). I think a lot of it obviously had to do with profiling, but some of it had to do with the fact that we have too many people not enough health care workers, so they just try to get you in and out with the least amount of effort.

    • Exactly.
      See how they’re now pushing the safer alternatives, like Kraton, that the fda pulled from the free market in order to protect big pharma’s patent.
      Monopolies, especially fascist monopolies like the gubbermit holds is the worse addiction we face.
      BTW, HHS & all their branches, is an unconstitutional agency, dept, that is up to the people to demand the defunding of.
      They do not sit within the framework of the Constitution. Only laws and agencies within the confines of the Constitution are Constitutional. Which roles are within the confines? Hint: There are 17 delegated roles. Define Delegated and boom, the answer lies just a liberty away.
      It’s time to stop the real addiction epidemic.

  • Also the VA in Eureka has cut a lot of people off. They started me with 180 oxy, 14 years later and than a new doctor comes in and drops it to 80. Withdrawals were a pita. I overcame and to this day I will not take pain pills again, five years clean of all meds.

  • So the statistics show a decrease in opioid prescriptions. I don’t see the stats for increase/decrease in Heroin use. The government has been cracking down of doctors that prescribe opioids and threatening them with fines or prison and the doctors for their own well being have decreased prescriptions. The price for prescribed Oxy is through the roof since the insurance companies won’t pay for it. Where does a chronic pain sufferer turn? Can’t get a effective pain killer or afford it? Well, street drugs start to look appealing.

    The drug manufacturers a few years ago told doctors to prescribe drugs such as Oxy, because there was no or a small chance of addiction. It was handed out like candy and the government turned a blind eye. Where was the CDC and DEA then? Was there profits to be made? Now all of a sudden we have an Oxy and Heroin addiction epidemic.

    The government, insurance companies, and Big Pharma have created this problem. Their answer now is to just stop the drugs from being prescribed and damn the consequences. I agree that these drugs shouldn’t be prescribe for temporary pain or a quick fix to a temporary problem, but what about the millions of Americans who have chronic long term pain? My mother is one of these folks and she talked to me about the alternative of street drugs, because her doctor cut off her pain meds. For Gods sake the woman is 76 years old, she has had both knees replaced, a back operation and another to be soon scheduled. She can barely walk from the pain. There is a thing called quality of life and the powers that be are creating a situation where millions are going to be living in pain, because they have make up the narrative that they want to spoon feed the American people.

    Stats lie, when you want them to. Show all the stats and remember that human beings are not stats.

  • How the hell is ther more prescriptions than people?!

  • Make it to difficult or shameful to refill a scrip and people might just use the street corner doctor instead.

  • Please explain how there are more than one prescription per person? Does this mean people are going to more than one doctor?

  • The number of prescriptions per person doesn’t really give much information about usage. I mean a prescription for 14 x 5mg Vicodin from your dentist or 180 x 80mg oxycontin are each equal to one prescription. But are a lightyears apart in the amount of opiate prescribed.

  • Lots of people do and many more used to be on several opiate/opioid prescriptions at once; say methadone for constant pain and oxycodone for break-thru pain. There’s those few docs out there that write a Lot more prescriptions than one person could ever need.. I’m sure my prescribed daily intake at one point would kill the whole farm. (Addiction education isn’t exactly a big part of Med school, nor prevention nor alternative remedies, nor.. It’s almost as if the pharmaceutical companies wrote half the textbooks.) But certainly still common for more than one to be prescribed.. Esp currently through the VA, they are still pretty thorough with their plan= stuffing Iraq/Afghan Vets with several of the strongest pain meds known to man..and just as much for emotional pain (which is the same exact neural circuitry).
    This is such BS; the CDC, FDA, DEA all constantly trying to justify their own paychecks while most I see just get fatter and fatter and sicker and sicker. All should be disbanded for crimes against humanity (Kratom, another drug, I mean a ground up plant leaf, I mean an illegal outstanding alternative to many opiate meds, I mean come on!). It’s hard to have an adult conversation about nonsense.
    Rewatch Ken Burns Prohibition Doc..

    “Marijuana illegal but cigarettes cool, I might Look kinda funny but I ain’t no fool”

    Fun fact: Around the time ibogaine was given approval for human trials (look up ibogaine) the folks at Perdue were cooking up the non addictive OxyContin.
    Guess which one made it through (read: got funded) ?

    • One wonders what these people are studying in pre-med. It isn’t nutrition. Tjeres a passing trial at anatomy but other than orthopedic drs, that doesn’t seem to be very important to them either. Now you say they don’t take on an understanding of the meds they use as their main crutch? Silly.

  • Ibogaine, Nixon’s favorite!

    Drugs are almost never the answer.

  • Dyerville Loop is Not Alderpoint

    Since the dawn ofus.We humans have always liked to get our head bent.Over and under and sideways and down and inside out. Cronic pain is a tough mothers ass to kick or transend.Some humans become yogis and even get over food and water,and air.Some love a needle in the arm/ fast as you can get it, icyblack- plaugedeathcrank …..NOW!

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