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January 2, 2023

Insight from COAST Leads

COAST has enjoyed the collaboration of COAST Leads from agencies within Ventura County, including Public Health, Emergency Medical Services, Medical Examiner’s Office, Health Care Agency and Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

We asked the COAST Leads “What are you optimistic about related to the Opioid Crisis in 2023?”

Chris Rosa, Deputy EMS Administrator, VCEMS Agency:  I’m optimistic about the future of the COAST task force.  Meeting in-person in November for the first time since 2020, was great, and you could feel the energy in the room.  People are ready to get back on track and do some good work with regard to opioid abuse and response.

Dr. Theresa Cho, Ventura County Health Care Agency, Ambulatory Care CEO:  I am inspired by VCHCA's battle against the opioid crisis through addiction medicine treatment, with plans to launch a detox unit at our county hospital. Opiate use disorder is a frequent challenge for those served by our Backpack Medicine team, who meet patients where they are at as we try to save lives from this disease. The Whole Person Care team's intensive case management for persons with substance use disorders gives me hope that they will get the treatment and support they need.

Sgt. John Hadjucko, VCSO Special Services Division-Narcotics:  I am hopeful that the flow of information and dialogue continues between government agencies and community / education groups on just how dangerous fentanyl is and the scope of the epidemic we face. There can be no change without first recognizing we have a problem, then working together to confront it. I think this past year we finally really started seeing what we are up against and admitting it is entrenched in our community. I see positive change as we continue to make that output of information and resources a reality, and there seems to be an overlying community interest in working together to solve this problem.

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