Sacramento Briefing — California's Response to the Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic is the worst drug crisis in American history. This CHCF briefing in Sacramento will examine the role of California agencies in addressing the epidemic.

Held: November 27, 2017

The opioid epidemic is the worst drug crisis in American history. More than 33,000 people died of an opioid overdose in 2015 — an almost three-fold increase from 2002. Nearly 2,000 of those deaths were in California.

Government, health care providers, health plans, law enforcement, and many others throughout California have been working to respond to the crisis at the local and state levels. Even though there is still much work to be done, California is starting to see some early successes. While the national death rate continues to climb, in California it remains stable. California's Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard shows that opioid prescribing is down and access to effective addiction treatment is increasing.

A briefing held in Sacramento on November 27, 2017 examined the role of state agencies in combating the epidemic. Participants heard about different collaborative approaches, including promoting safer prescribing practices, expanding access to medication-assisted treatment for addiction, and improving communication between prescribers and providers, among others.

Speakers included:

  • Jennifer Kent, director, DHCS
  • Lance Lang, MD, chief medical officer, Covered California
  • Tina Farales, administrator, CURES program, California Department of Justice
  • Karen Smith, MD, director, California Department of Public Health
  • Kelly Pfeifer, MD, director, High-Value Care, CHCF (moderator)

Please watch a recording of the entire briefing.