Published on November 14, 2019

Town hall and Narcan distribution and training after overdose deaths in Monterey top 30

Contact: Monica Sciuto (831) 622-2756
Communication and Marketing: (831) 625-4505

Monterey County, Calif. Fatal overdoses from opioids have more than tripled in Monterey County this year — including the death of a 16-year-old girl in October — prompting agencies, organizations, and individuals to step up their efforts to decrease opioid abuse and misuse and to ask the public for help.

The community is invited to a free Drug Overdose Awareness Town Hall on Monday, November 18 at Oldemeyer Center, 986 Hilby Avenue in Seaside. The town hall will be from 6-7:30 p.m. and is for community members ages 12 and older.

Opioid overdoses and deaths continue to increase to more than 3 times last year’s numbers in Monterey County. Monterey County Prescribe Safe Initiative, a collaborative of more than 35 local business and agencies, has been addressing the opioid problem since 2014 and had great success. In 2018, Monterey County had the second-lowest opioid-related death rate of any county in California. But, in the last several months, counterfeit medications have entered the market, many with a toxic or lethal dose of fentanyl, causing a staggering increase in opioid-related overdoses and deaths. Fentanyl is a very powerful opioid, 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Monterey County Health Department has now reported 32 opioid deaths in 2019 to date. Comparatively there were 7 deaths in 2017 and 9 in 2018. Many of this year’s deaths are linked to the counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, made to look like prescription medications. Fentanyl has been found in counterfeit medications including Percocet, Oxycodone, Valium, Xanax, and Adderall, among others and has been found in some marijuana. Many who have taken the pills were unaware that they were taking a potentially deadly dose of fentanyl.

At Monday’s Town Hall event, Monterey County Prescribe Safe Initiative partners will provide the latest information on the counterfeit medications and their toll, and ask the public to help share the information.

As part of the town hall, participants will be shown how to administer the opioid reversal drug, Naloxone, and will receive a free dose of Narcan, the nasal-spray version of Naloxone, to people 18 years or older, while supplies last.

What community members can do:

  • Residents should NOT take any medications not prescribed to them through a doctor’s office and pharmacy. Do not buy or accept pills from any other source as many pills look exactly like their medication counterparts, but can contain lethal doses of opioid.
  • Parents should talk to their children about pills or other items offered to them of unknown origin.
  • Community members should notify law enforcement if they have ANY information that could lead to the origin of the counterfeit pills or other illegal drugs. Investigators can be called at (831) 646-6926 or if you wish to remain anonymous, contact the Tip-Line (831) 646-3840. Law enforcement officers say their goal is to find the suppliers and dealers, not the users who are being caught up in the epidemic.
  • Community members should have a supply of naloxone, the reversal agent for an opioid overdose. Naloxone can be purchased at a local pharmacy or by visiting Valley Health Associates for a free dose.
  • If an overdose is suspected, 911 should be called immediately to obtain medical assistance. AB 472, California’s 911 Good Samaritan law, provides limited protection from arrest, charge, and prosecution for people who seek emergency medical assistance at the scene of a suspected drug overdose.


The Monterey County Prescribe Safe Initiative (MCPSI) is a multi-organizational collaborative effort in Monterey County with the goal of improving safety of prescription drugs, reducing inappropriate prescribing of prescription pain medications and sedatives, increasing access to treatment for addiction, and improving education to the public and medical community on the dangers of prescription drugs

Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, established in 1934, has grown and evolved in direct response to the changing healthcare needs of the people it serves. Its parent company is Montage Health, the umbrella for entities that work together to deliver exceptional care and inspire the pursuit of optimal health. Community Hospital is a nonprofit healthcare provider with 220 staffed acute-care hospital beds and 28 skilled-nursing beds, delivering a continuum of care from birth to end of life, and every stage in between. It serves the Monterey Peninsula and surrounding communities through locations including the main hospital, outpatient facilities, satellite laboratories, a mental health clinic, a short-term skilled nursing facility (Westland House), Hospice of the Central Coast, Montage Wellness Centers, and business offices. Find more information about Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula

Prescribe Safe partners:

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