Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 06, 2017
Opioid Epidemic Exists in Ventura County,
But Local Law Enforcement is Making Progress
The abuse of opioid-based narcotics, including commonly prescribed drugs such as Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet, has reached epidemic proportions nationwide. California, for example, recorded a 20-percent increase in opioid-related deaths year-to-year. For Ventura County, however, the outlook was not quite so bleak - deaths from opioid use actually decreased by 23 percent over the same period.
Sergeant Victor Fazio of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department was our speaker on Monday, November 6. He credits the positive results to his Department's collaborative approach in dealing with the problem. "We work with schools, community groups, and others to get the message out about the dangers of opioid abuse," he said. A 23-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department, Sergeant Fazio performs undercover work as part of his duties. For that reason, he asked that no photographs be taken during his presentation to Ventura Rotary South.
A portion of Sergeant Fazio's eye-opening remarks dealt with the history of opioid promotion by the pharmaceutical industry. In 1996, for example, sales of the popular drug OxyContin totaled $46 million. Just four years later, that figure soared to $1.1 billion. Early on in their promotion and advertising, opioids were characterized as non-addictive, an absolute falsehood.
With numerous questions from the audience, Sergeant Fazio was unable to present all of the information he had planned to share. By virtually unanimous acclamation, our members invited him back to a future meeting. Thank you, Sergeant, for a sobering look at one of today's most critical public safety issues!