How to Reduce Drug Overdoses in Ventura CountyOct 23, 2023
What can you do to help reduce drug overdoses in our community?
The DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is coming up on Saturday, October 28th, 2023. To help reduce Rx drug misuse, abuse, and overdoses, Rx Take Back Day encourages the public to remove expired, unneeded, or unwanted medications from our homes as a measure of preventing medication misuse and opioid addiction from ever starting. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.7 million people misused prescription pain relievers, 4.9 million people misused prescription stimulants, and 5.9 million people misused prescription tranquilizers or sedatives in 2019. The survey also showed that a majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.
In Ventura County, more than 200 people die each year from unintentional opioid overdoses. Prescription painkiller abuse, rising heroin use, fentanyl, and accidental opioid overdoses are part of a nationwide crisis and are unfortunately also prevalent here in Ventura County.
Ventura County is actively engaged and committed to preventing prescription drug misuse and abuse. One of the ways the County works to address the issue locally is by reducing access, especially to teens. The Ventura County Sheriff's Office (VCSO), in collaboration with Ventura County Behavioral Health (VCBH), established a countywide Rx disposal program that allows residents to safely dispose of unused, unwanted, or expired Rx medication via secure, confidential disposal bins across the county.
Recent data continue to support the need for ongoing and expanded availability of Rx drug disposal programs. 1 in 5 Ventura County teens have abused prescription drugs. Over 50% get them for free from friends and family. 73% of Ventura County residents surveyed indicated that prescription drugs, for uses not as prescribed, are “fairly easy” or “very easy” for teenagers to obtain. Since 2009, over 19 tons of Rx drugs have been collected and destroyed by the Ventura County Rx Abuse & Heroin Workgroup partners in the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.
The VCSO collected 6,813 pounds of unused and expired prescription medications over the course of 2017, the highest annual total since it began collecting prescription drugs in 2009. Nearly 1 in 5 Ventura County residents have dropped off unused or expired Rx drugs at a County disposal bin.
What you can do to reduce access to Rx drugs:
- Commit to safely disposing of your prescription drugs
- Get the facts on Rx & OTC drug abuse
- Dispel the myth that Rx drugs are safe to abuse
- Know the signs and symptoms of drug use and overdose
- Monitor and secure all medications
Find a list of free, confidential disposal bin locations in Ventura County here: Safe Medication Disposal.
Learn more about overdose and safe prescription drug use at Ventura County Responds.