Getting to Zero Opioid Overdose Deaths

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Performance Metric

Increase the percentage of Medi-Cal beneficiaries who are engaged in a substance use treatment within 7 days of a non-fatal opioid overdose from 8% to 16%
The chart above shows the quarterly percentage of Medi-Cal Beneficiaries who have been engaged in a substance use treatment within 7 days of a non-fatal opioid overdose between July 2017 and now.  During the pandemic many factors complicated access to treatment.  However, access has been increasing since October 2021 and we have met our target of 16%. 

Age Groups


The two charts above depict data of all Medi-Cal beneficiaries who experienced an opioid overdose and the percentage of those who received timely treatment. The first chart breaks the data down by age demographics. The second chart breaks this data down by gender demographics. This data is over a time period between July 2017 and today. 

Equity in Action

In the last year, 15.4% of Medi-Cal beneficiaries who received treatment within 7 days of non-fatal opioid overdose identified as Hispanic/Latinx.  As Marin Health and Human Services has typically engaged fewer Hispanic/Latinx adults in substance use treatment services as compared to other populations in Marin, the County and its RxSafe Marin Coalition partners have enhanced efforts to outreach and engage our Hispanic/Latinx communities. This year, RxSafe Marin Coalition partner, Alcohol Justice, launched the San Rafael Latino Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Outreach Project.(Source: 5) Alcohol Justice has been able to provide information for individuals seeking help with an opioid problem, through mailing cards, social media posts, videos, website resources. All materials are in Spanish and have been provided to all households and businesses in the San Rafael Canal community. 

Why Does it Matter?

The number of opioid overdose deaths throughout the country continues to rise. 
Between 1999 and 2016, the number of fatal opioid overdoses nationwide increased five times.  In 2017, opioids were involved in and estimated 67.8% of all drug overdose deaths. (Source:1) This epidemic exists at a national and local level.  Mirroring national trends, the leading cause of accidental death in Marin County is drug overdose with a majority of these involving opioids.
Learn more about Opioid Overdoses and use in Marin County. Additional trend data can be found on the CDC and CDPH websites.
Marin County residents drug overdose deaths by year: 17 in 2015, 36 in 2016, 37 in 2017, 30 in 2018, 34 (full data pending) in 2019. Source: California Department of Public Health.
Opioid prescription pills spilling out of a bottle

What is the Problem?

A Non-fatal Opioid Overdose is a Strong Predictor of a Fatal Overdose
Studies have demonstrated that a prior non-fatal overdose increases the risk of a fatal overdose.(Source: 1 & 2) Residents are at greatest risk for a potentially fatal overdose within 48 hours of a prior overdose event. Emerging research is evaluating interventions offering treatment when individuals experience an overdose and interface with the healthcare system, many of which are based in the emergency department.(Source: 3 & 4) However, some individuals experiencing an overdose may require life-saving interventions from emergency medical services (EMS) and decline emergency department transport. Additionally, individuals may not be amenable to treatment at the time of their overdose and offering treatment in the week following an overdose has been associated with treatment seeking and engagement. Developing an effective method of tracking and responding to non-fatal opioid overdoses in our community would help inform outreach and intervention programs that could help connect residents to treatment.

What are we doing to solve the problem?

Testing the timely identification of non-fatal opioid overdoses using EMS data
Beginning in May 2018, the Marin County Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) implemented a system for identifying and connecting survivors of an opioid overdose with substance abuse treatment. The pilot program utilizes Marin County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) ambulance records to rapidly identify potential opioid overdose incidents and contact survivors within a week of the incident. Research shows that residents may be more receptive to substance use interventions in the immediate aftermath of an overdose. (Source: 3) By intervening within a few days of the incident, we can support residents at their most vulnerable time and decrease the chances of a subsequent, fatal overdose.

If you are in a crisis or have a family member/ friend in crisis, please contact us.

Talk with someone 24/7
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Access and Assessment: (888) 818-1115
  • Crisis Stabilization Unit: (415) 473-6666
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255
  • Linea Nacional de Prevencion del Suicidio: (888) 628-9454
For emergencies please call 911. 


  1. California Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard []
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration []. Accessed on: 2/1/2019.
  3. Dubois RW. Cost-effectiveness thresholds in the USA: Are they coming? Are they already here? J Comp Eff Res. 2016;5(1):9-11. doi:10.2217/cer.15.50.
  4. Alcohol Justice, San Rafael Latino Medication Assisted Treatement MAT Outreach Project.