Medical Society Receives Grant from California HealthCare Foundation to Launch Work on the Prescription Painkiller Epidemic

Placer Nevada County Medical Society Receives Grant from California HealthCare Foundation to Launch Work on the Prescription Painkiller Epidemic

The Placer Nevada County Medical Society announced today that it received one of twelve grants from the California HealthCare Foundation to help launch work to address the misuse of prescription painkillers in Placer and Nevada Counties.

Every day, 44 people in the US die from overdosing on prescription painkillers, and many more become dependent on these medications. While there has been no overall change in the amount of pain that Americans report, the amount of prescription painkillers dispensed in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1999, as has the death rate from these medications. The misuse of painkillers – drugs like oxycodone, codeine, and morphine – is the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem and has been classified as an epidemic by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Opioid Safety Coalition of Placer and Nevada Counties brings together local leaders from the Placer Nevada County Medical Society, the Placer County Health and Human Services Department, the Nevada County Public Health Department, emergency room physicians, pain management physicians, health plans, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, law enforcement, the corrections system, first responders, community groups, school districts, addiction treatment providers, and others, all committed to the same goal – lowering prescription painkiller overuse and overdose deaths in Placer and Nevada Counties.

“The grant will allow the Opioid Safety Coalition of Placer and Nevada Counties to address the epidemic from multiple angles, including adopting safer prescribing practices, expanding access to effective addiction treatment, implementing community approaches to overdose prevention, and coordinating communication between historical silos, such as emergency departments and primary care providers,” said Lindsay Coate, Executive Director for the Placer Nevada County Medical Society.

“There is no doubt that opioid misuse and opioid related deaths have reached epidemic proportions throughout California including our own region. Our prehospital providers are challenged with this problem each and every day,” said Troy Falck, MD, Medical Director for Sierra-Sacramento Valley EMS Agency. “We applaud the efforts of the California HealthCare Foundation to launch a collaborative effort to support communities such as ours in tackling this important problem and making a measureable impact.”

This effort complements other state and national initiatives designed to address the prescription painkiller epidemic. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) received more than $3.7 million in federal funds to launch new statewide prevention efforts, and the California Department of Justice received $750,000 to enhance the statewide controlled substance database, CURES (Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System). The Obama administration just announced a major federal commitment to support safe prescribing training across the US.

This work also builds upon tools like the Prescription Drug Community Action Kit, which was recently released by the National Safety Council. This toolkit summarizes how communities can prevent drug overdoses and provides resources to help local leaders build partnerships that address overprescribing.

“We are very concerned about the growth of opioid misuse in our communities especially among our young people. Placer County Health and Human Services has already been involved in a number of efforts to address this growing problem, we are excited to participate in this regional effort to combat opioid misuse,” said Robert Oldham, M.D., M.S.H.A., Health Officer for Placer County.

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The Placer Nevada County Medical Society's mission is to promote the science and art of medicine, the care and well being of patients, the protection of public health and the betterment of the medical profession.

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