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Anticipating $100 million in settlements from county lawsuits in opposition to opioid producers, San Diego County supervisors on Wednesday launched a plan to make use of the funds to counsel overdose survivors, develop dependancy remedy and safely get rid of unused prescribed drugs.

At a press convention on the County Administration Middle, Board Chair Nathan Fletcher and Supervisor Joel Anderson described how they plan to spend the anticipated cash to curb dependancy and overdoses. The board will think about that proposal at its common assembly Tuesday.

Below the plan, the county would create a 24-hour service to dispatch educated peer advocates to hospitals to satisfy sufferers recovering from overdoses and provoke remedy earlier than the cycle of drug use and disaster resumes.

That proposal is predicated on a profitable New York program that has helped forestall repeat overdoses, Anderson mentioned.

“They’re utilizing peer mentoring on the very second an individual is coming again to life on a gurney they usually’re most weak to the reality in altering their life,” Anderson mentioned.

The county plan would develop medically-assisted remedy for dependancy, together with residential and in-patient remedy in addition to out-patient remedy and counseling.

And it might lengthen housing and different companies to folks hooked on opioids, to supply a steady surroundings for drug rehabilitation.

“The fact is a person affected by dependancy, in the event that they’re on our streets, they’re not going to get higher in the event that they’re not housed,” Fletcher mentioned.

The county will even develop a system to dispose safely of prescription opioids, recognizing that dependancy to road medicine usually begins with the misuse of prescription opioids present in relations’ medication cupboards. It might ship drug disposal luggage to each San Diego family and educate residents on how one can discard unused medicine safely.

A number of the areas hit hardest by opioid dependancy embrace rural elements of the county and tribal lands, together with East County communities in Anderson’s district, the supervisors mentioned, so early phases of this system would goal these areas.

The county has seven separate lawsuits pending in opposition to opioid producers and expects to obtain $100 million from the assorted instances, with the primary spherical of funds arriving earlier than the tip of the yr, Fletcher mentioned.

Relatively than wait till the cash is in hand, he mentioned he and Anderson determined to plan forward to roll out remedy applications as quickly because the funds arrive. They conferred with well being care staff, substance abuse specialists, legislation enforcement and relations of individuals affected by dependancy about how one can deal with the issue.

“The urgency of the scenario we face on the streets at the moment doesn’t enable us to attend until six months after we obtain the funds to determine how they must be spent,” Fletcher mentioned.

Opioid deaths have been rising in San Diego County yearly for the previous decade, Fletcher mentioned.

Overdose deaths from the highly effective artificial opioid fentanyl specifically have surged in recent times, from 151 in 2019 to greater than 800 in 2021, in line with county authorities. In June, the county declared unlawful fentanyl a public well being disaster.

“Each single certainly one of these people is a life that has been misplaced,” Fletcher mentioned. “It’s a beloved one, it’s a buddy, it’s a member of the family.”

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