RxSafe Marin Newsletter Volume 9 - Issue 5 - May 2020
In this Issue: May is Mental Health Awareness Month I Virtual Film Screening & Live Panel Discussion I New Naloxone Resources I Isotonitazene, New Synthetic Opioid I The Next Wave of the Opioid Epidemic I Deaths of Despair I Stigma Corner
RxSafe Marin is a broad-based community coalition dedicated to reducing harm from prescription drug abuse and saving lives.
Fighting Stigma and Raising Awareness During Mental Health Month ...May is Mental Health Awareness Month
One in five people in the U.S. will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, right now, we are all facing unique challenges that are impacting our mental health. Sheltering in place, social isolation, loss of income is the devastating fallout from an uncertain and anxiety-filled time caused by the COVID-19 pandemic began. Americans are struggling with mental health during COVID-19 and many turn to unhealthy habits to cope.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
has been promoted by Mental Health America since 1949 with their mission statement: “Our work is driven by our commitment to promoting mental health as a critical part of overall wellness….”  Learn more about Mental Health Awareness Month from Mental Health America and download the 2020 Mental Health Month Toolkit

The First Day: A Focus on the Beginning - Virtual Film Screening & Live Panel Discussion
On June 1st, MHYP is hosting a virtual film screening of  The First Day: A Focus on the Beginning followed by a Live panel discussion. The First Day is an innovative approach to prevention and wellness education with a look into the struggles facing youth today. Through the power of storytelling, the film addresses issues that teens and communities are impacted by from substance use to mental wellness.  
Chris Herren scored over 2,000pts in high school, played college basketball and was drafted by the Denver Nuggets. He played two years in the NBA and seven seasons overseas before losing it all to the disease of addiction. The First Day chronicles this journey.

Parents & youth are encouraged to attend. The First Day is intended to start the conversation, to raise awareness of the critical issues and challenges to address substance use with a focus on wellness, and rethink the disease of addiction.

The First Day: A Focus on the Beginning - Virtual Film Screening & Live Panel Discussion
Monday, June 1, 2020 at 7:00 PM
Film screening followed by Live Q&A with Cassidy Rodgers, Novato High senior, Dr. Jeff DeVido, Marin County Chief of Addiction Services, and Jon Hirsch, Redwood High School teacher

THREE WAYS TO VIEW - Click on link below to register for the event.
  1. ZOOM Event: Watch the film and participate in Q&A with Live panel after screening  
  2. Marin TV: Watch Only the film and Q&A with Live panel after screening  
  3. View the film on your own time with a private link from Friday, May 29 - Monday, June 1
Presented by Marin Healthy Youth Partnerships (MHYP)  
NEW   Naloxone Resources, Training & Distribution on    
RxSafe Marin is proud to announce an exciting new addition to our website, a comprehensive page all about Naloxone; what it is, where to get it, and how it works. Visit the new RxSafe Marin Naloxone resource page.
Naloxone (also known as Narcan) is an opioid inhibitor, meaning it binds to the opioid receptors in your brain and prevents them from receiving opioids. The sole function of this medication is to reverse an overdose caused by opioids of all kinds. There are no negative side effects to using the medication, and it serves a vital role in harm reduction. Naloxone saves lives. 
RxSafe Marin also offers free community Naloxone training & distributions. Please contact RxSafe Marin Naloxone for All! -The Inventor of Naloxoneto schedule a training for your agency, club, neighborhood, PTA, or faith-based organization. 
Click here to schedule a Naloxone training.  
New Designer Synthetic Opioid Linked to Overdose Deaths - Isotonitazene 
It seems like whenever the world gets a handle on one specific drug that is causing problems, a new one shows up that needs to be addressed. We all know how the original opioid problem came to fruition; people got addicted to pills, the pills lead to heroin, the heroin lead to fentanyl, and now a new illicit drug, Isotonitazene, a novel synthetic opioid. Isotonitazene like fentanyl, is many times stronger than heroin and imported from China. In the span of about a year, isotonitazene went from being practically unheard of to being implicated in a fatal overdoses across the Midwest.
Why Should I Drug Test for Designer Synthetic Drugs? | Overdose ...
Barry Logan, a leading international forensic toxicology authority, identified isotonitazene in over 200 deceased drug users in the midwest and northeast since August 2019 and is responsible for 40-50 overdose deaths per month.

USA Today reported that drug enforcement officials seized large quantities of isotonitazene, a “designer” opioid, meaning it is entirely artificial and created in a lab. Click here to read the entire article.  
Read more about isotonitazene: 40 Americans Are Dying Every Month From this New, Legal Opioid 
What the opioid crisis will cost prescription manufacturers ...The Next Wave of the Opioid Epidemic
TIn the past 20 years, the opioid epidemic has washed over the country in waves. Waves caused by OxyContin, overprescribing prescription opioids, switching from prescription drugs to heroin & synthetic opioids. Three waves are tied to different forms of opioids but the fourth wave was caused by the widespread use of other illicit drugs with opioids or polysubstance use.
As the nation deals with COVID-19, there is grave concern that synthetic opioids are now available in larger supply due to the reduced heroin stream cause by border closures and travel restrictions driven by COVID-19. People will substitute drugs they’re less familiar with which may be many times stronger making dosing less reliable and potentially fatal. Overdoses go up, as supply goes down and during shortfalls. COVID-19 may usher in a fifth wave of the opioid crisis.
To mitigate the impact of synthetic opioids during COVID-19, the AMA released new policy recommendations to help patients with OUD including support for harm-reduction efforts. The DEA also developed new guidelines that allow practitioners to prescribe buprenorphine or methadone to OUD patients via telemedicine.
Deaths of Despair During Coronavirus | GatewayDeaths of Despair
Fatalities resulting from suicide, drug and alcohol poisoning, along with alcoholic liver disease and cirrhosis, are often categorized as deaths of despair. As many as 75,000 Americans could die because of drugs or suicide as a result of the coronavirus pandemic according to an analysis by the national public health group Well Being Trust.

The group is sounding the alarm that the growing unemployment crisis, economic downturns, and stress caused by isolation and lack of a definitive end date for the pandemic could significantly increase so-called deaths of despair, deaths associated with mental health, economic factors, and related drug and alcohol use. By one estimate, nearly as many Americans could die deaths of despair related to COVID-19 as having lost their lives to the virus itself. 

Read the Projected Deaths of Despair from COVID-19 report by Well Being Trust released in May 2020.

Forbes reported a projected 75,000 Deaths Of Despair could result from coronavirus pandemic. Read here.

Stigma Archive
  1. How Stigma Affects Substance Use Disorder: Treatment and Emergency Response   
  2. DRUG EPIDEMICS IN THE US – A Historical Perspective of Stigma
  3. Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, and Names WILL Hurt Me: How Stigmatizing Language Hinders Treatment
Looking for RxSafe, LLC, makers of the RxSafe 1800 and RxASP automation systems? Click here to visit their website, or email them Please note that RxSafe, LLC is not formally affiliated with RxSafe Marin.
RxSafe Marin Newsletter, May 2020
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