On February 5-6, 2018 in Santa Rosa, CA, Project Inform hosted The Opioid Crisis & Related Public Health Issues in Rural Northern Counties: A Summit to Discuss Solutions. Over 113 participants from a diverse array of health and social service organizations, including drug treatment programs, federally qualified health centers, syringe exchange programs, local health departments, and health plans from the 26 most northern counties in the state attended the Summit. The counties of interest included Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo, and Yuba.
The objectives of the Summit were to:
- Encourage the sharing of best practices among providers in the region;
- Facilitate networking among providers working on issues related to the opioid crisis in the region; and
- Summarize local provider recommendations for a more effective and better resourced response to the opioid crisis and related public health issues in rural northern counties.
The first day of the Summit was primarily dedicated to examining public health issues related to the opioid crisis, such as hepatitis C, HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, skin and soft tissue infections, and to broader issues around engaging PWUD and working in “frontier” or low-resource counties. The second day of the Summit focused specifically on preventing overdose and information and resources to increase and improve overdose education and naloxone distribution programs in the region.
The feedback from participants has been very positive. Many attendees reported that they are grateful for the information they received at the Summit and, most importantly, for the opportunity to network and share successes, challenges, and innovative approaches with their colleagues throughout the region.
A summary report, including recommendations and next steps, and links to video recordings of the major sessions will be available in the near future.