Prescription opioid overdose hospitalizations increased from 601 in 2006 to 765 in 2016. In 2017, 488 individuals in Los Angeles County died from an opioid overdose. In response to this growing epidemic, today the Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn, that will streamline prevention efforts and expand Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) for opioid users throughout the County.

“Broadening access to Medications for Addiction Treatment is key when helping individuals who are impacted by an opioid addiction. Los Angeles County is ready to help its residents get critical treatment and avoid opioid deaths, especially as we all witness the opioid crisis spiraling out of control throughout the country,” Solis said. “We must stay the course and continue to think outside of the box, advocate, and expand our reach to help as many people as possible.”

Substance use disorders are complex health conditions that require different treatment strategies. Health care providers must rely on all available treatment options to effectively and successfully treat patients. Today’s motion calls for expanding access to MAT, which, when combined with counseling and other behavioral interventions, can help address an addiction to opioids, as well as alcohol.

“Enhancing and improving the County’s efforts to combat opioid use and opioid-related deaths will especially help our most vulnerable residents and underserved communities,” Solis continued. “When we help our most vulnerable, we all win. No one should be left behind when tackling this opioid crisis.”

Today’s motion directs the Department of Public Health, in coordination with all pertinent County Departments and entities, to develop effective strategies that would combat opioid misuse through deliberate and strong programs, as well as coordinate implementation efforts within the County health care delivery systems, private hospitals, community clinics, correctional facilities, and first responders.