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RxSafe Marin Newsletter Volume 13 - Issue 1- January 2021
In this Issue: GRAND JURY Opioid Misuse: Strengthening Marin County’s Response I April is Safe Drug Disposal Month I
Coronavirus vaccine rollout faces tough questions of equity I Let's Talk Series - Uppers, Downers and All-Arounders I A Crisis Within a Crisis I Stigma Corner
RxSafe Marin is a broad-based community coalition dedicated to reducing harm from prescription drug abuse and saving lives.
CIVIL GRAND JURY REPORT Opioid Misuse: Strengthening Marin County’s Response
In its new report Opioid Misuse: Strengthening Marin County’s Response, the Grand Jury reported an estimated 4,400 Marin residents are suffering from Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and calls for more to be done to prevent and treat the disease. The 2019/2020 Marin County Civil Grand Jury recommended that the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services make the drug naloxone, the opioid overdose antidote, more widely available throughout the county. The report also acknowledged health officials for the formation of RxSafe Marin, a coalition dedicated to reducing opioid use and preventing addiction. 
Dr. Jeff DeVido, chief of addiction services, said the county is grateful for the report. “Marin County HHS and the grassroots coalition called RxSafe Marin have made great strides in creating awareness in the community about opioid addiction.” The Spahr Center, a Marin nonprofit serving the LGBTX community and those affected by HIV, is a partner organization in RxSafe Marin. Andy Fyne, Sparh’s “Harm Reduction” coordinator, said providing naloxone to the community has proved to save lives. In 2020, Spahr distributed over 380 kits that reversed 85 opioid overdoses. 
Read more from the Marin Independent Journal: Marin panel urges stronger response to opioid crisis
or the Editorial: More can be done to curb Marin opioid overdoses and deaths
APRIL IS SAFE DRUG DISPOSAL MONTH
It is never too early to plan for safe drug disposal. For more info or to find a Safe Drug Disposal kiosk near you, visit RxSafe Marin or Med-Project.
Click here to order a safe disposal mail-back envelope

Safe Disposal Saves Lives
Coronavirus vaccine rollout faces tough questions of equity
Although COVID-19 information is not normally included in the RxSafe Marin newsletter – we all know that the pandemic is affecting our whole community and is a priority. Therefore we are including information about vaccines in this issue. In Marin, get up-to-date information at https://coronavirus.marinhhs.org/vaccine and sign up for daily coronavirus and vaccine status updates at https://coronavirus.marinhhs.org/subscribe.
Harvard Law reports California officials are facing intense pressure to prioritize vulnerable communities and promote equity in the Covid-19 vaccine distribution plan.  People of color have been hit hard by the coronavirus, and Black Americans have died of COVID-19 at a rate roughly three times higher than whites. Experts agree the virus has exposed health disparities hidden in plain sight, linked to the lingering effects of racism and inequality in the U.S. Targeting underserved communities — specifically low-income communities, is the key to addressing this issue.
US News reports, putting communities of color ahead of other groups for the vaccine is good public health practice.  California Gov. Gavin Newsom said last month that Black and Latino residents who have been disproportionately affected should be among the first to be inoculated.
In deciding who gets access to the limited supplies of the life-saving vaccine in the coming months, the most populous and diverse state in the country will have to answer thorny questions. Age, particularly for those over 65 years old, is a huge risk factor. Obesity, which plagues well over 40% of Americans, is another risk factor that increases the severity of the disease. Other comorbidities including kidney disease, diabetes, asthma, and underlying heart conditions also increase the risk of severe COVID-19. There has already been much discussion as to how to best roll out the vaccine to these next high-need groups, but no clear determinations have been made as to next steps.
Join the Conversation
On Wednesday, February 3, 2021, at 7:00pm, there will be a virtual community discussions that follow the chapters of Let's Talk: A toolkit for navigating teen substance use in Marin County, we will look closely at “Uppers, Downers and All-Arounders”
The event moderator, Jaclynn Davis, authored the Let's Talk booklet. She received her Masters in Public Health and Social Work and now focuses on adolescent health and youth development through her work with Huckleberry Youth Programs, local school districts, and teaching at Dominican University.
Our guest expert, Jennifer Epstein, has been a Health Educator for the past 20 years and has taught in both public and private high schools in San Francisco. Her curriculum focuses on substance use prevention with an emphasis on saying "know." She has talked with hundreds of young people frankly about substances and uses student voices as well as current research to create class sessions that are both informative and relevant.
Michael Danne will share the youth perspective on this topic. Michael is a Senior at Redwood High School and is co-chair of the Marin Healthy Youth Partnerships Youth Advisory Council. He is also a Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) peer educator. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and share ideas.  Click here to register
A Crisis Within a Crisis
We hear daily the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, ICU capacity and pandemic deaths are breaking records across the U.S. but we seldom hear about how the Opioid Epidemic rages on, claiming a record number of Americans as well.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports the health crisis is fueled by the synthetic opioid fentanyl and in 2020, more than 621 people died of drug overdoses in San Francisco which far outpaces the 173 deaths from COVID-19. The OD death count would have been far worse if it wasn’t for the nearly 3,000 times naloxone was used to reverse an opioid overdose. More than 40 states have reported increased opioid overdose deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
In November 2020, Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of OxyContin, pleaded guilty to felony charges for their role in fueling the opioid crisis and agreed to pay $8 billion to the United States, the largest ever settlement by a pharmaceuticals company. Will the Purdue Pharma settlement help treat those suffering from an Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)?
To learn more, read:  A Crisis within a Crisis from Johns Hopkins University, Overdose Deaths Far Outpace COVID-19 Deaths in San Francisco about the staggering surge in drug overdose deaths far outpace COVID-19 fatalities in San Francisco.
Stigma Archive
  1. Is Stigma Stronger Than Safety – Ask an Inmate   
  2. How to address Stigma Effectively? Considerations to Consider
  3. How Stigma Affects Substance Use Disorder: Treatment and Emergency Response   
  4. DRUG EPIDEMICS IN THE US – A Historical Perspective of Stigma
  5. Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, and Names WILL Hurt Me: How Stigmatizing Language Hinders Treatment
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Looking for RxSafe, LLC, makers of the RxSafe 1800 and RxASP automation systems? Click here to visit their website http://rxsafe.com/, or email them info@rxsafe.com. Please note that RxSafe, LLC is not formally affiliated with RxSafe Marin.
RxSafe Marin Newsletter, October 2020
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