Biweekly Briefing Articles

5 Things To Know: Opioid Pilot Project | North County Shelter | April NAMIWalks | Blue Envelope Program | Rural Health Care Symposium

SAN DIEGO COUNTY LAUNCHES PROGRAM TO REDUCE OPIOID MISUSE: San Diego County has launched a pilot project to reduce access to, and misuse of, prescription opioids by encouraging safe disposal. Through the program, which will primarily focus on east and central areas where overdose death rates are highest, both health care providers and patients who are prescribed opioids will receive free drug disposal pouches that deactivate opioids so they can be safely disposed of in the trash. No data will be collected on who is prescribed the opioid medication or how much was prescribed. The pilot program is funded through opioid settlement funds, which are a result of litigation over the role of the pharmaceutical industry in creating and fueling the opioid epidemic. The settlements also involve significant industry changes to prevent this type of crisis from reoccurring.

For more information, email the county at or register to attend the Health Professionals Telebriefing on April 4 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (PT). Continuing medical and dental education credits will be provided.

NORTH COUNTY GAINS A LOW-BARRIER SHELTER: The Buena Creek Navigation Center opened its doors on March 4 in Vista. Under a shared multi-city agreement, 75% of the 48 beds are designated for people experiencing homelessness in Vista and 25% for Encinitas. The adults-only, non-congregate shelter was facilitated by a $5 million allocation from Sen. Catherine Blakespear (D-Encinitas) that covers three years of operation by Retread Inc. It has two two-story buildings, with six bedrooms per floor and two beds in each room. The shelter is low-barrier, in that clients are not required to be sober but they may not have or use drugs onsite. Staff includes three full-time case managers, a director, and two navigation coaches who can help clients find permanent housing during their stays.

NAMI TO HOST WALKS IN SAN DIEGO AND IMPERIAL COUNTIES NEXT MONTH: The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – San Diego and Imperial Counties will host two fundraising events in April to promote its mission of providing advocacy, education, support, and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives. NAMIWalks are being held on April 27 at Preble Field in Naval Training Center Park at Liberty Station in San Diego and on April 13 at the Imperial Valley Mall in El Centro. Registration is available online.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY IMPLEMENTS INCLUSIVITY PROGRAM: The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and other local law enforcement agencies have implemented a new program aimed at enhancing communication between law enforcement and residents with certain conditions — such as autism, dementia, or anxiety — that might require additional accommodations or assistance during a service call or emergency. The Blue Envelope Program, which was developed in collaboration with the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and community organizations, allows community members to readily display their identification, contact information, or vehicle registration and proof of insurance in either a blue envelope or a similarly branded item (e.g., stickers, lanyards, buttons, or keychains). The program does not have a registry component and is entirely voluntary.

CHA’S RURAL HEALTH CARE SYMPOSIUM PROVIDED ENGAGEMENT ON CRITICAL ISSUES: Timely educational offerings and productive discussions from CHA’s Rural Health Care Symposium on March 4-5 will help hospital leaders shape future organizational strategies for rural and critical access hospitals. With record attendance, the 71 members representing 35 rural and critical access hospitals received updates on CHA’s state and federal legislative efforts, rural seismic strategies, and Medi-Cal and state finances. This event ensured rural hospital leaders were given a platform to actively participate in conversations on important topics and have their voices heard on critical issues.