San Diego County’s Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force creates a Report Card every year to review data points concerning prescription drug abuse in San Diego County, and to discuss how this data and other factors may be affecting public health and safety. In the 2016 Rx Report Card, readers are cautioned not to consider singular data points on their own, but are encouraged to look at all of the information available, as well as the trends over time. At True North Recovery Services, we interpreted the data within the 2016 Rx Report Card, and included what we found to be the most telling statistics within an easy-to-read infographic. Be aware that the infographic does not contain all of the data available within the 2016 Rx Report Card, and if you would like to view the entire report, you can download the full report here.

Based on the data available, it does appear that prescription drug abuse is leading to overdose deaths, DUI prosecutions, and younger users switching to heroin after prescription drugs become harder to find or pay for. A 2010 study of young intravenous drug users in San Diego County found that 40% reported misuse of opioids prior to initiating heroin injection. These factors have lead to an increasing heroin problem in San Diego County. With heroin use and overdose deaths on the rise, Naloxone is a life saving drug that can be administered as a nasal spray or an injection to resuscitate someone from a heroin overdose. In 2015, the Sheriff’s Department started carrying Naloxone in all patrol cars.

So, what are we supposed to do with all of this data? What action is needed? First, make sure your medications are secured and safely disposed of. Discover which Rx Collection Boxes are closest to you. Second, support your doctor in using safe prescribing guidelines. Only use one doctor and one pharmacy. Third, save lives with Naloxone. Naloxone can resuscitate someone in an opiate overdose. Family members can use this valuable resource after a brief training session. Community groups like A New Path hold trainings for families who may need to use Naloxone. And finally, get help if you need it. Addiction treatment saves lives and recovery is possible.

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