Placer and Nevada Counties receive statewide honor in joint effort to end opioid abuse

Published on August 03, 2016

Placer and Nevada County’s community outreach campaign, “Rx Drug Safety Placer and Nevada County” was recently honored by the Health Officers Association of California with “Best Collaboration Between/Among Local Health Departments” award.

Placer and Nevada Counties are experiencing an increase in prescription opioid abuse and overdose. Respective county health officers and the local medical society recognized that this epidemic crosses county lines as do many of the resources and constituencies necessary to address it.

In response, a joint county campaign was created, led by community members and public health experts in both counties, to improve collaboration and communication and ultimately prevent opioid abuse, overdoses, and deaths in Placer and Nevada Counties/

“Communicable diseases don’t respect county borders so we already have a close working relationship with Placer County and we want to build on that relationship to address other issues like the increased misuse of prescription painkillers; the local medical society has really helped bring community partners together on this,” said Dr. Ken Cutler, Nevada County Public Health Officer.

Rx Drug Safety Placer and Nevada is supported by a steering committee composed of representatives from Placer and Nevada County Departments of Health and Human Services, as well as a number of community partners.

Communications are targeted to five separate, but closely connected constituencies:

  • Schools and community based organizations;
  • Drug treatment providers;
  • Prescribers and pharmacists;
  • Law enforcement and first responders and
  • Local media

Communications to each of these different constituencies is led by an “Action Team” composed of representatives from both Placer and Nevada County HHS, and community representatives from the respective constituency representing both Placer and Nevada Counties. Each action team is responsible for collaborating to develop communication strategies and materials targeting its respective constituency.

In total, ten counties each received a $10,000 award to support their efforts and another two earned an honorable mention and the praise of their colleagues. The 2016 HOAC Communications Awards recognize unique technological innovations and showcase outstanding efforts to improve community health and promote fair access to healthy lifestyles using communications tools.

“Opioid abuse is an epidemic and poses a serious epidemic in Placer and Nevada Counties,” said Dr. Robert Oldham, Placer County Public Health Officer. “We are proud to earn the recognition from our peers and excited to put the award to good use."