Drug overdose (poisoning) is now the leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States, causing more deaths than motor vehicle crashes. Opioids – both prescription painkillers and heroin – are responsible for most of those deaths. The number of Californians affected by prescription and non-prescription opioid misuse and overdose is substantial, with rates varying significantly across counties, and even within counties. In Orange County, the rate of opioid-related emergency department (ED) visits has increased 141% since 2005 and there were 7,457 opioid overdose/abuse cases treated in the ED between 2011 and 2015. Importantly, seven of every 10 overdose deaths investigated by the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner during this five-year period involved opioids. Learn more in the "2017 Opioid Overdose & Death in Orange County” report.
To combat these climbing statistics, the OC Health Care Agency (HCA) has the following resources available to help you or a loved one who may have a substance use problem:
855 OC-LINKS (855-625-4657) OC Links is an information and referral phone and online chat service to help navigate the Behavioral Health Services (BHS) system within the Health Care Agency for the County of Orange. Callers are connected to clinical Navigators who are knowledgeable in every program within the BHS system. This includes children and adult mental health, alcohol and drug inpatient and outpatient programs, crisis services, and prevention/early intervention programs. Once a program is identified, the Navigator will make every effort to link the caller directly to that program while still on the call or engaged in the chat.
Hours of operation: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
877-7-CRISIS (877-727-4747) The Suicide Prevention Line provides 24-hour, immediate, confidential over-the-phone suicide prevention services to anyone who is in crisis or experiencing suicidal thoughts.
In addition to the resources above, HCA continues to partner with other agencies and organizations to increase awareness and identify solutions for this growing problem. Below is a list of partner organizations and initiatives with which HCA actively participates:
Brings together health experts, public health agencies, hospitals, prescribers, community clinics, emergency departments, medical associations and law enforcement, along with key voices, to take action to combat prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths in Orange County, CA.
The strategic plan informs and directs AOD prevention services provided by HCA, which includes Public Health Services’ Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Team (ADEPT), and Behavioral Health Services’ AOD Prevention Services. These prevention services work together under one strategic plan that capitalizes on their complementary strengths.
The Orange County Alcohol and Drug Advisory Board is developing an Opioid Strategic Plan that will identify individual and community needs in Orange County specific to opioids as well as effective strategies to address these needs.
In July 2017, the Orange County Board of Supervisors accepted a grant for 6,218 doses of Naloxone. Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is an opiate antagonist used to reverse the effects of an opiate overdose. Through this grant, Solace Foundation is providing Naloxone Distribution and Overdose Recognition & Response Training (ORRT).
Making Orange County a safe, healthy, and fulfilling place to live, work, and play, today and for generations to come, by providing outstanding, cost-effective regional public services.
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