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San Benito County
Thursday July 20th, 2023 :: 03:44 p.m. PDT




SAN BENITO COUNTY, July 20, 2023  – San Benito County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is pleased to announce the launch of a new program, in partnership with Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, to expand buprenorphine distribution by emergency responders to reduce opioid overdoses.

“Opioid overdose continues to devastate communities as a leading cause of death in the US. More than 75% of opioid overdose occurs outside of the hospital setting, making onsite treatment by EMS first responders lifesaving. The best practice of initiating buprenorphine onsite by paramedics provides a path to long-term treatment of opioid use disorder and has been shown to reduce subsequent opioid overdose by more than 60%. Expanding onsite access to buprenorphine is crucial to reducing opioid use disorder and related deaths in our community”, said Dr. Cheryl Scott, San Benito County Health Officer

For an overdose, Naloxone (Narcan) is a critical lifesaving medication but does nothing to address the underlying demand for opioids. Buprenorphine helps reduce opioid withdrawal and cravings and, along with methadone, is the most effective treatment for opioid use disorder, reducing the risk of overdose fatalities by up to 50%.

“The opioid epidemic continues to ravage communities across the nation, including San Benito County,” said Dr. David Ghilarducci, San Benito County EMS Medical Director, and Deputy Health Officer. “Expanding access to buprenorphine is part of the County’s aim to reduce fentanyl and other drug-related deaths.”

Under this new program, paramedics may administer buprenorphine to certain patients in opioid withdrawal while taking them to a hospital, where they are in turn connected to long term treatment programs. Providing this medication as soon as possible not only relieves withdrawal symptoms but makes successful recovery from addiction more likely. The program began July 13th in San Benito County.

“We are excited that paramedics have the training and tools necessary to administer buprenorphine in the field,” said Kris Mangano, San Benito County EMS Manager. “By proactively addressing opioid dependence as early as possible, even during a 911 response, we can save lives and connect individuals with addiction to the resources they need to achieve lasting recovery.”

If you or someone you know is interested in treatment services for addiction, please contact your medical provider. If you do not have a medical provider, you can call either the Hazel Hawkins Hospital Substance Use Navigator at 831-320-3082 or SAMHSA’s National 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.

San Benito County
471 4th St
Hollister, CA 95023

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 831-636-4000

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