CHICO, Calif.-- The North State is not immune to the growing opioid epidemic across the country, experts involved with local opioid abuse prevention say the statistics are alarming in Butte County.
More than 400 people from the medical field, law enforcement and everything in between are in Chico for the California Opioid Summit.
Local health officials said we've got a significant opioid problem here in Northern California.
The California Opioid Summit happening on Chico State's campus has drawn hundreds to the campus with one common goal, to combat the ongoing opioid abuse happening in our communities.
Behavioral health officials say they've seen a significant increase in the number of people coming into their offices to get help they need and begin recovery.
Campbell says, "We're higher than the national average when it comes to the number of opioids that are prescribed in our community. Three-times higher and that's alarming to us. It means that there's more pain killers out there."
Butte County Health Officer, Dr. Andy Miller, says Opioid death rates in Butte, Glenn and Tehama Counties are some of the highest in Californiao
Miller says,"They are higher than most of the rest of the state. Most of the rural of California show higher death rates, and unfortunately Butte County and surrounding counties are all inappropriately high on that list."
Miller's job is to collect data on local opioid use and mis-use and provide that to law enforcement, hospitals and pharmacies.
He says it's hard to pinpoint a specific reason why the impact is much larger in rural communities, but says opioids are more commonly prescribed in those areas.
He added that the amount of people who overdose on opioids is double than the state average.
Miller says, "Our rates have been in the Top 10 or Top 15 of the state for a number of years and that's not where you want to be."
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