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Pete’s Perspective: Taking Action Against An Epidemic

Pete’s Perspective: Taking Action Against An Epidemic

Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System is taking a multifaceted approach to meeting the challenges of the opioid epidemic. Monterey County, like communities across the nation, has seen increased overdoses and deaths, including amongst children and young teens. Sadly, nearly everyone now knows someone who has faced problems with prescription opioids, heroin or fentanyl.

Our healthcare system has a task force that brings our departments together in addressing the evolving needs of the crisis. New medication is opening opportunities for successful treatment to a wider range of people. Our hospital works closely with our outpatient clinics, which serve more than 150,000 patients annually, to identify patients who may benefit from medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorder.

The valuable connections our staff makes with those who visit us for care are the first steps toward treatment. Our Case Management team coordinates a network of social services provided by outside agencies that help make that treatment and recovery sustainable.

In all aspects of our work, we recognize the heartbreak behind every overdose and death.

NARCAN® is an overdose reversal drug that saves lives in our Emergency Department regularly. It is safe, easy to use and effective. No medical training is needed, and we share it freely, no questions asked.

We will be distributing NARCAN at our Farmers’ Market that runs 12:30pm to 5:30pm on Friday, September 23. Our physicians and social workers will be onsite to share information and we invite you to stop by and learn more.

As we work to increase access to greater resources for prevention, treatment and recovery, we salute our staff and our many partners throughout Monterey County who are joining forces to combat the deadly threat of this epidemic. The complexity of the challenge requires commitment from all sectors to bring about long-term solutions. It is our actions as a community that will help turn the tide in saving lives.

The National Helpline of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides confidential treatment referrals and information. Text your ZIP code to HELP4U or call 800-662-HELP.

Be safe and be well.

– Pete

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