Opioids In The News

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September 16, 2021

More than $1 million dollars worth of illegal drugs are now off the streets in Monterey County, thanks to a multi-agency effort led by the Salinas Police Department.

August 24, 2021

Along with our neighboring counties Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Santa Clara, as well as across California, is witnessing a significant spike in the number of drug-related overdoses and deaths in recent months. There have been 18 overdoses to date for 2021, as compared to 38 in 2020 and 23 in 2019.  These overdoses represent overdose calls resulting in administration of Narcan® by first responders.

August 13, 2021

San Jose had recently seen a spike in deaths due to individuals being sold methamphetamine that the users did not know contained fentanyl. 

August 2, 2021

Santa Cruz Police said they responded to the encampment at East Levee Monday morning for the latest overdose. Of the 14 overdoses, there have been two deaths.

August 2, 2021

"In April 2020, shortly after shelter-in-place took effect, drug-related overdose cases fell at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula to less than half than before the pandemic began, from over 40 per month to only 17, says Reb Close, a CHOMP emergency room physician and co-founder of Prescribe Safe Monterey County. In summer, the numbers jumped back up to pre-pandemic levels and since January, they’ve steadily increased. “It’s just been really getting out of hand,” Close says."

June 1, 2021

For at least the second time in less than a month, police delivered the Narcan medication to a San Benito County resident June 1 who had just suffered a drug overdose, according to authorities.

May 24, 2021

The increase mirrors a surge in drug overdoses in California and around the country during the pandemic. What’s notable about the victims in Santa Clara County is their youth. One was a 12-year-old girl.

Monterey County Man and Mexican Pharmacist Face Federal Charges for Local Fentanyl Overdose

October 8, 2020

A Monterey County man is in custody and charged by a federal grand jury for a 2019 deadly fentanyl overdose and the intent to distribute the drug, according to a U.S. Department of Justice release.

Santa Rosa mom who lost 1-year-old son and his father hopes her tragedy can help other addicts

August 24, 2020

The scene still plays over and over in her head: Walking into a Santa Rosa home and finding her 1-year-old son dead next to his unconscious father. Sitting nearby on a piece of foil was the killer – the powerful narcotic fentanyl.

Central Valley seeing increase in fentanyl-related overdose deaths

August 19, 2020

The Central Valley is seeing an increase in counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl and causing a surge overdoses and deaths. 

Two Monterey County doctors accused of negligence by California Medical Board

August 3, 2020

Two Monterey County doctors, Dr. Eric Jacobson and Dr. Paul Tocchet, are facing accusations of negligence and petitions to revoke their medical licenses by the California Medical Board

July 21, 2020

A kilo of heroin with a street value of at least $80,000 and an illegal short barreled assault rifle was seized by Watsonville police.

July 14, 2020

San Benito County is not exempt to the high use of pain medications. Although there has been a significant decrease in pain medication prescriptions in the past two years, in part due to the awareness campaigns by the San Benito County Opioid Task Force, there are still approximately 25,650 opioid prescriptions made annually to residents of this county, according to the California Department of Public Health Opioid Dashboard

Seaside teen accused of selling Fentanyl laced drugs that killed Carmel Valley man

June 23, 2020

A 19-year-old Seaside man has been arrested and charged with selling a counterfeit street drug laced with Fentanyl that killed a Carmel Valley man last month and the arrest coming just months after another 19-year-old was accused of selling a similar drug that took the life of a 16-year-old girl in Seaside.

June 18, 2020

Hollister is a community where everyone somehow knows each other. Some of the people we can recognize by driving through town are neighbors, coworkers, family and friends. Once in a while, you become familiar with the local residents who may be under the influence, and a bit distracting on the side of the road. It can be hard to imagine how someone like that can recover from being in such a terrible situation. However, one of these people who came to be known for her singing in the street, looking disheveled, being homeless and walking around town with a balloon has proven that recovery is possible.

June 17, 2020

Early in the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, staff at San Benito County Behavioral Health began to move essential services to telecommute outlets. When the shelter-in-place order came from the Board of Supervisors in mid-March, Behavioral Health was able to continue to provide care without in-person visits.

June 5, 2020

Sun Street Centers announces it has reopened the doors to its Women’s Residential and Perinatal Recovery Program in Hollister, CA on June 8, 2020. This state-licensed recovery program located in Downtown Hollister provides a supportive environment for single women and women with small children seeking a life free from the devastating effects of drug and alcohol addiction.

'No party we've ever seen': Town hall discusses increased opioid-abuse

February 8, 2020

Opioid-related overdoes and deaths continue to be a problem across California and the country. San Benito health and law enforcement leaders spent Saturday getting the message out about these dangerous drugs and how to help with drug abuse.

January 21, 2020

San Benito County Public Health Services invites the community to meet health care providers and state government representatives to discuss the local opioid crisis.

San Benito County health experts are fighting back against the opioid epidemic

November, 5, 2019

To fight back against the epidemic, the San Benito Opioid Task Force is focusing on educating teenagers about the dangers of taking recreational pills, especially when they’ve been bought off the street.

Safe Teens Empowerment Project in Salinas works to raise awareness about the dangers of drugs and alcohol

October, 23, 2019

Since the uptick in overdose deaths from both opioids and stimulants such as methamphetamine, their work is becoming even more important.

Be aware of counterfeit prescription drugs laced with Fentanyl in Hollister/San Benito County

October 22, 2019

It is believed fentanyl has been laced in counterfeit prescription narcotics that are being sold in our community. Multiple agencies are asking you to please not take any medication that hasn't come from your doctor and pharmacist.

Two fentanyl overdoses in two days, one fatal, in San Benito County

October 22, 2019

San Benito County Sheriff's Office put out a warning of increase in opioid overdoses due to counterfeit pills containing the potent drug, fentanyl.

Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital in Hollister receives $129k opioid treatment grant

October 16, 2019

The program enables their ER to treat anyone who is experiencing withdrawal from opioids or anyone who needs support quitting.

A lost decade and $200,000: one dad’s crusade to save his daughters from addiction

October 9, 2019

There are treatments that work, but rehab facilities don't have to use them. A Gilroy family learned that the hard way.

Hollister police, fire revive man who overdosed

July 24, 2019

The Hollister Police Department & Hollister Fire Department revived a man after he was found not breathing from a suspected opioid overdose. Made possible by training from SBC Opioid Task Force members and provided with Narcan 

Sun Street Centers celebrates renewed three-year accreditation

July 18, 2019

Since 1968, Sun Street Centers has worked to treat patients with alcohol and drug addiction. On July 12, Sun Street Centers received a renewed, three-year accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF International). This is the third time Sun Street Centers has received this accreditation in the past 10 years.

San Benito County Opioid Task Force Making Strides

June 3, 2019

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The San Benito County Opioid Task Force has been diligently working to address the opioid epidemic locally since its formation in late 2017. The Task Force has recently made significant strides which will help further accelerate efforts to combat local opioid issues through increased services, prevention efforts, and selection for grant funding.

$27,000 worth of heroin found under the floorboard of a Watsonville home

April 7, 2019

A 23-year-old man was arrested Saturday morning at a Watsonville home after a police dog sniffed out 138 grams of heroin hidden under a floorboard and officers discovered four firearms, including an assault rifle. Andy Viorato-Briseno, of Watsonville, was taken into custody on suspicion of possession of narcotics while armed and possession of a controlled substance for sales.

Cocaine user didn’t know it was fentanyl. He died. Sheriff says the crisis has arrived

January 14, 2019

The fentanyl drug overdose crisis that first erupted back east has come to Fresno County in a case where a Fresno man died of an overdose, Sheriff Margaret Mims said Monday.

Fentanyl suspected in 13 overdoses in Chico.One person died

January 12, 2019

One person has died and four are in critical condition after a mass drug overdose at a house in Chico, Calif. A total of 12 people were taken to the hospital.

Opioid Task Force Reflects On One-Year Milestones

October 23, 2018

San Benito County Opioid Task Force updated the San Benito County Board of Supervisors on its achievements since its establishment 1 year ago and launched its website live from the meeting.

Overdose Reversal Drug Credited with Saving Local Lives

June 26, 2018

2 individuals lives have been saved in San Benito County by Naloxone, an overdose reversal medication, made possible by a grant secured by Public Health Services and Emergency Services

Public Health Officer Responds to County Opioid Lawsuit

May 19, 2018

San Benito County Public Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel discusses joining in on the lawsuit versus pharmacy giants.

San Benito County Files Lawsuit, Joins Fight Against Opioid Companies

May 18, 2018

San Benito County joins more than 30 counties in California to file legal action against pharmaceutical companies over the opioid epidemic.

September 11, 2021

Ryan Hampton writes about the bankruptcy case against Purdue Pharma and how it positively impacts the Sackler Family who has owned and operated Purdue Pharma the pharmaceutical company that helped to fuel the opioid crisis in the United States.  

September 9, 2021

Comedian Kate Quigley is speaking out as she recovers following a suspected accidental fentanyl overdose that killed three people, including fellow comedians Fuquan Johnson and Enrico Colangeli, over the weekend.

April 15, 2021

Overdoses deaths have continued to rise and be more prevalent than in 2020. 

August 31, 2020

The rate of opioid overdoses, already an epidemic in the US, have continued to trend up and the way to combat more deaths is by widespread distribution and availability of the opioid reversing medication, Naloxone.  

September 1, 2020

A year after he died, the Angels pitcher's widow and mother open up on his death and how they're coming to terms with what happened and why. 

August 17, 2020

U.S. states claimed they are owed $2.2 trillion to address harm from OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP’s alleged role in America’s opioid epidemic, accusing the drugmaker in new filings of pushing prescription painkillers on doctors and patients while playing down the risks of abuse and overdose.

August 7, 2020

Eric Kay, a former Angels public relations employee, was charged by federal authorities in Texas with distributing fentanyl.

July 28, 2020

Drug overdose cases and deaths are on the rise in dozens of states, and authorities in one Florida county say they believe the coronavirus pandemic is a contributing factor to the sudden increase.

July 22, 2020

The billionaire Sacklers who own Purdue Pharma, maker of the OxyContin painkiller that helped fuel America’s opioid epidemic, are among America’s richest families. And if they have their way, the federal court handling Purdue’s bankruptcy case will help them hold on to their wealth by releasing them from liability for the ravages caused by OxyContin.

Doctors And Dentists Still Flooding U.S. With Opioid Prescriptions

July 17, 2020

Despite widespread devastation caused by America's opioid epidemic, an investigation by NPR found that doctors and other health care providers still prescribe highly addictive pain medications at rates widely considered unsafe.

Public data, including new government studies and reports in medical literature, shows enough prescriptions are being written each year for half of all Americans to have one. 

‘Cries for help’: Drug overdoses are soaring during the coronavirus pandemic

July 1, 2020

Suspected overdoses nationally jumped 18 percent in March, 29 percent in April and 42 percent in May, data from ambulance teams, hospitals and police shows.

I walked out of rehab and into a pandemic...

Apr 21, 2020

Once discharged, I realized how the beginning of my sobriety would go: no hugs from friends and family, no AA meetings in church basements, no dinners at my favorite restaurants. These things I had clung onto as bright spots as I faced my life after rehab were now gone. 

The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Made The Opioid Epidemic Even Worse

March 27, 2020

The US was already grappling with an epidemic of opioid overdoses. People in recovery say the coronavirus outbreak has made getting treatment a nightmare.

Opioid Addiction Is 'A Disease Of Isolation,' So Pandemic Puts Recovery At Risk

March 27, 2020

Suboxone, a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, helps many people addicted to opioids wean themselves from an escalating drug habit. But counseling and social support are key to successful treatment, too, experts say.

For Drug Users, COVID-19 Poses Added Dangers

April 2, 2020

The National Institute on Drug Abuse director warns the coronavirus could increase the pressure to use, cause complicated health effects and curtail access to treatment for those struggling with addiction.

Pharmaceutical Executive John Kapoor Sentenced to 66 Months in Prison In Opioid Trial

January 23, 2020

Former billionaire and pharmaceutical executive John Kapoor has been sentenced to five years and six months in prison. His sentencing is the culmination of a months-long criminal trial in Boston's Moakley U.S. Courthouse that resulted in the first successful prosecution of pharmaceutical executives tied to the opioid epidemic.

Benzodiazepines might be a 'hidden element' of the US' overdose epidemic -- and doctor visits for prescriptions are increasing

January 20, 2020

Doctors have been increasingly prescribing benzodiazepines, also known as "benzos," in recent years. Looking at data from 2014 to 2016, new research found this class of central nervous system depressants was prescribed at about 65.9 million office-based doctor visits. That's a rate of 27 annual visits per 100 adults.

In Rural Areas Without Pain Or Addiction Specialists, Family Doctors Fill In The Gaps

December 30, 2019

This story follows Dr. Angela Gatzke-Plamann a family practice doctor who was confronted with the opioid crisis locally and is an example of what many rural areas in the US are having to do with limited pain and addiction services and instead take on themselves. 

How the opioid epidemic evolved

December 23, 2019

A new analysis of overdose data shows when and where the three waves of drugs took hold.

A New Drug Scourge: Deaths Involving Meth Are Rising Fast

December 17, 2019

Today’s meth is far more potent than earlier versions, but because it isn’t an opioid, many federal addiction treatment funds can’t be used to fight it.

Fentanyl As A Dark Web Profit Center, From Chinese Labs To U.S. Streets

September 4, 2019

Ben Westhoff, says fentanyl is now killing more Americans annually than any other drug in American history. Dealers are adding fentanyl to heroin and other drugs, and users often have no idea they're getting it or how much they may be using.

Opioid trial judge could deliver biggest judgment in US history

August 26, 2019

The judge presiding over the historic Oklahoma opioid trial will deliver his ruling Monday afternoon -- a decision that could have sweeping implications as other states and communities try to hold pharmaceutical companies responsible for the opioid epidemic.

Who's responsible for the opioid epidemic? Doctors or pharmaceutical companies?

August 25, 2019

Dr. Barry Schultz is serving 157 years in prison after he prescribed enough opioids for a prosecutor to call him one of Florida's "most notorious drug dealers." In this "60 Minutes" interview, Schultz says he's a scapegoat.

Motorcycle Crash Shows Bioethicist The Dark Side Of Quitting Opioids Alone

July 8, 2019

Travis Rieder, author of In Pain: A Bioethicist's Personal Struggle With Opioids, says none of the doctors who prescribed opioids for his waves of "fiery" pain taught him how to safely taper his use of the drugs when he wanted to quit.

76 billion opioid pills: Newly released federal data unmasks the epidemic

June 3, 2019

America’s largest drug companies saturated the country with 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pain pills from 2006 through 2012 as the nation’s deadliest drug epidemic spun out of control, according to previously undisclosed company data released as part of the largest civil action in U.S. history

Insys, the Opioid Drug Maker, to Pay $225 Million to Settle Fraud Charges

June 5, 2019

The opioid manufacturer Insys Therapeutics agreed to pay $225 million to settle federal criminal and civil charges that it illegally marketed a highly addictive fentanyl painkiller to doctors, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Case against Ohio doctor charged with killing 25 patients may hinge on former colleagues

June 6, 2019

One of the largest murder cases in Ohio history, involving a doctor accused of killing 25 patients, will hinge on his colleagues' cooperation and what they can offer up at trial, legal experts say. And what those former co-workers reveal may help shed light on something that has so far eluded investigators: a motive.

Fighting Fentanyl

May 22, 2019

Washington Post provides a thorough examinination of America’s deadliest drug epidemic.

Why a Drug Company in N.Y. Was Charged Over Opioids

April 24, 2019

The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan accused Rochester Drug Cooperative of conspiring to distribute drugs and defraud the federal government. The company sold 143 million oxycodone pills in New York State between 2010 and 2018, the state says

Majority Of Americans Say Drug Companies Should Be Held Responsible For Opioid Crisis

April 25, 2019

A new poll by NPR and Ipsos finds a third of Americans have been touched directly by the deadly opioid epidemic that still kills more than 100 people every day. "One in three have been personally affected in some way, either by knowing someone who has overdosed or by knowing someone with an opioid addiction," said Mallory Newall, lead Ipsos researcher on the survey.

Opioid epidemic: Fight addiction and chronic pain together to save lives

April 25, 2019

More than 20 years after the first uptick in opioid overdose deaths in the United States, two groups are pitted in a bitter tug of war around the causes of, and solutions to, the opioid epidemic. On one side are people pointing to overprescribing as the reason tens of thousands of Americans die each year from opioid overdose. On the other side are people concerned that efforts to constrain overprescribing are hurting Americans living with chronic pain.

California drug experts warn of Carfentanil, a drug 100 times more potent than Fentanyl

April 12, 2019

Drug enforcement experts in San Diego are warning about a new, deadlier opioid on the streets -- Carfentanil.

Authorities nab $1.5M worth of fentanyl during traffic stop

April 11, 2019

Seizures of large quantities of fentanyl, a powerful and frequently deadly synthetic opioid, have become increasingly common in the San Diego area.  

A woman and her boyfriend were behind bars today after allegedly being caught transporting more than 20 kilograms of powdered fentanyl -- an illicit drug haul valued at $1.5 million -- on an Otay Mesa freeway.

FDA Identifies Harm Reported from Sudden Discontinuation of Opioid Pain Medicines and Requires Label Changes to Guide Prescribers on Gradual, Individualized Tapering

April 9, 2019

These changes will provide expanded guidance to health care professionals on how to safely decrease the dose in patients who are physically dependent on opioid pain medicines when the dose is to be decreased or the medicine is to be discontinued.

With Fentanyl Deaths On the Rise Nationally, California Is Taking Precautions

March 26, 2019

Deaths from a synthetic opioid called fentanyl have been on the rise nationally, and last week’s findings from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show this could be the third wave of the nation’s opioid epidemic.Though the spike in death rates has largely affected the Northeast, the trend is starting to worry health experts in California, who are already taking precautions to reduce overdoses.

Opioids After Wisdom Teeth Removal Might Set Young People Up For Addiction

August 7, 2018

The University of Michigan recently released that young people ages 13- 30 are 2.7 times more likely to continue filling opioid prescriptions after surgery.