Co-leads: Karina Arambula & Timi Leslie
Addressing the prescription drug problem in Marin requires an understanding of the problem, based
not only on anecdotal or qualitative information, but also on accurate, relevant data. Data Collection and Monitoring Team addresses this need by determining what data best describe prescription drug misuse in Marin County and tracking changes in community behaviors and prescribing practices. The Action Team partnered with seven distinct state and local agencies to create a report card with key indicators to inform RxSafe Marin strategies and allow measurement of impact over time.
Prescribers and Pharmacists
Co-leads: Matt Willis, Jeff Harris, Peter Behel & Melissa Struzzo
Evidence indicates that prescribing guidelines for healthy and safe amounts of opiates can help improve patient outcomes, and limit the risk of unintended harm. Prescribers and Pharmacists Team is focused on balancing the benefits of medicines with the harm of over-prescribing, and the potential for abuse and addiction. The Action Team develops mechanisms to reduce the amount of opiate drugs prescribed in Marin by primary care and emergency department physicians and is furthering methods of safe in-home storage and disposal of unused, unwanted, and expired medications.
Intervention, Treatment, and Recovery
RxSafe Marin recognizes that the epidemic of prescription abuse has left many Marin residents
in need of support for addiction or dependence. In response the Intervention, Treatment, and Recovery Team is dedicated to increasing age appropriate treatment services with access to healthcare, medically assisted treatment options, employment, and ongoing psychological and social support for those in recovery. Naloxone, a drug used to reverse opioid overdose, is also being distributed to high-risk individuals.
Co-leads: Mark Dale & Kathy Koblick
Assigning responsibility and intervening when prescription drugs are used harmfully is often difficult. Working with law enforcement agencies and justice partners, the Law Enforcement Team addresses the complex legal and enforcement challenges related to drug diversion—the use of legally prescribed drugs for unintended or unlawful purposes—by establishing protocols to efficiently identify the sources of prescription drugs, establish a non-punitive mechanism to notify associated prescribers, and reduce availability for abuse and misuse. The Action Team also seeks to build bridges between offenders to needed rehabilitative services.
RxSafe Program Coordinator: Maureen “Mo” De Nieva-Marsh
Action Team Leaders form the Steering Committee with representation from Marin County Health and Human Services, Marin County Office of Education, and Healthy Marin Partnership. The Steering Committee provides guidance, support, and coordination between Action Teams, monitors progress, and serves as the public voice. Financial, technical, and logistical support is provided by Marin County Health and Human Services, Marin County Board of Supervisors, and Healthy Marin Partnership.
Community Based Prevention
Co-leads: Greg Knell, Linda Henn & Maureen “Mo” De Nieva-Marsh
Prescription drug misuse among youth, adults,
and seniors is tied to the beliefs that prescription drugs are safer and less addictive than street drugs. Prescription drugs can also be easier to get than street drugs, and generally with less stigma attached. The Community-based Prevention Team is committed to changing existing cultural norms that make social use of prescription drugs acceptable.
The Action Team focuses on educating the community about prescription drugs by raising awareness about dangers and addictions associated with misuse.
The Action Teams, formed around five areas of concentration: community-based prevention, prescribers and pharmacists, data collection and monitoring, treatment and recovery, and law enforcement, have developed measurable strategies across various domains to address prescription drug misuse and abuse.
Action Team Strategies
To date, RxSafe Marin has implemented the following strategies:
- The prescriber and physician group instituted county-wide guidelines (with the goal of becoming policy) to reduce the number of narcotics prescribed in local emergency rooms
- The data collection and monitoring group created a report card with data from multiple sectors to describe and provide a benchmark for tracking progress over time as prevention efforts continue
- The number of drug take back sites expanded to include county Kaiser locations and one additional police department
- RxSafe Marin’s process and progress is being presented and shared with various audiences to help strengthen community prevention efforts
- Marin County HHS is providing backbone support through their media team and part-time staff, as well as securing one-time funding through the Marin County Board of Supervisors, aimed at supporting action team implementation
- RxSafe Marin committee members are providing technical assistance to other counties and organizations to help establish analogous collaborative organizations