Opioids are drugs most commonly prescribed for acute, short-term pain, post-surgery recovery, or for cancer patients. You may know them by their names:
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. There are two types of fentanyl: pharmaceutical (prescribed) fentanyl and illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Both are considered synthetic opioids.
However, most recent cases of fentanyl-related overdose are linked to illicitly manufactured fentanyl, which is distributed through illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effect. It is often added to other drugs because of its extreme potency, which makes drugs cheaper, more powerful, more addictive, and more dangerous.
Heroin is also a type of opioid. Opioids are not meant to cure pain. They just mask it. Even though opioids can be prescribed by a doctor, using them in any way other than prescribed, even occasionally, is dangerous. The way prescription opioids affect your brain is the same as heroin, making them both risky and highly addictive.
Former Butte County Health Officer, Dr. Andy Miller explains what opioids are and what the community is doing to reduce opioid misuse:
Unwanted, Unused, or Expired Medications
Prescription pain medication should be discarded after its intended duration of use has been completed.
Safe Disposal options include drop-off locations listed below and during DEA Drug Take Back Days. Stay tuned for future drug take-back days happening in your town.
Medication Drop-off Locations
|Walgreens Pharmacy||Chico||1042 Nord Avenue|
|Butte Regional Household Hazardous Waste Facility||Chico||1101 Marauder Street|
|Oroville Police Department||Oroville||2055 Lincoln Boulevard|
|Orchard Hospital||Gridley||240 Spruce Street|
Opioid Misuse Prevention
The nationwide opioid epidemic remains concerning for Butte County as our age-adjusted drug-induced death rate is still roughly twice as high as for the state of California overall. Our primary prevention efforts are focused on preventing people from misusing opioids before they are exposed to them. These include the development and use of community-wide safe prescribing guidelines, academic detailing - a method of working with physicians and other prescribers in our region to reduce unnecessary prescriptions of opioids, outreach to schools to educate adolescents and young adults on the risks associated with misusing opioids, drug take-back events and safe drug disposal sites to help keep opioids out of the hands of people they were not prescribed to.
The Butte-Glenn Medical Society Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force, working with a coalition of concerned physicians, has created the following Butte County Opioid Prescribing Guidelines. These include instructions for when to initiate or continue opioids for chronic pain, opioid selection, dosage, follow-up and discontinuation, and assessing risk and addressing harm of opioid use.
View the Opioid Prescribing Guidelines for:
Watch Brenda's Story
Opioid Treatment & Recovery
Anyone Can Experience Addiction
When drugs or alcohol are used so often that they have significant negative effects on your life, this is called a substance use disorder. It is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual's life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences (Adopted by the ASAM Board of Directors September 15, 2019).
Medication Assisted Treatment
For people who have already been exposed to opioids and are currently misusing them, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and behavioral health services are available. MAT reduces adverse physiological symptoms, such as cravings and withdrawals, by combining behavioral therapy and medications that help to block opioid receptors in the brain. MAT includes assessment, individual and group counseling, physician review and monitoring, and case management.
MAT Services in Butte County
Visit the Butte County Behavioral Health page for more information.
To enroll in MAT, please attend one of the following outpatient center orientation and screening days. The center will provide assessment, diagnosis, and treatment to individuals facing prescription opioid and substance abuse challenges. These services are available for MAT are available for people ages 18 and older.
Orientation & Screening Locations
|530-879-3950||Call for an appointment.|
|Oroville||2430 Bird Street||530-538-7277||Call for an appointment.|
Are you pregnant or a woman who has children and is worried about your substance use?
Stepping Stones (Perinatal Program) (PDF) in collaboration with the Butte County Department of Employment and Social Services (DESS), is an outpatient program that provides substance use treatment to women who are pregnant or parenting children. The program provides comprehensive, strength-based, family-centered treatment for mothers seeking recovery from addiction. Participants take an active role in the treatment process and learn effective parenting without dependence on alcohol or drugs.
Stepping Stones Locations
|Chico Stepping Stones||Suite 2|
109 Parmac Road
|Oroville Stepping Stones||2167 Montgomery Street||530-538-4359|
Learn more about MAT services at Butte County Behavioral Health:
- Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm
- Phone: 530-879-3950
- After-hours line: 530-891-2810
Enloe Behavioral Health (Private Insurance)
|Enloe Behavioral Health||560 Cohasset Road|
|530-332-5250 or 800-560-5900|
Open Monday through Sunday, 24 hours a day
Enloe Behavioral Health is the only voluntary acute-care inpatient mental health program for adults age 18 and older in the North State. The program offers complimentary assessments 24 hours a day, seven days a week through appointments or walk-ins. Enloe accepts private insurance and Medicare. Enloe Behavioral Health is not a detox program. If you or a loved one needs help and you are unsure if you are a fit for this program, call Enloe Behavioral Health for help connecting with the best resources for your needs. The program is strictly confidential.
Find a certified MAT treatment doctor:
Search for a list of all certified physicians who provide MAT services in Butte County.
Harm Reduction - Naloxone
Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with the misuse of opioids and other substances. The use of Naloxone, the opioid antidote, to prevent or reverse overdose is a strategy for reducing serious injury and death from opioid misuse. Naloxone is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is administered when a patient is showing signs of an overdose, blocking the opioid receptor sites and reversing the toxic effects of the overdose. The medication can be given by intranasal spray, intramuscular (into the muscle), subcutaneous (under the skin), or intravenous injection.
Speak to your doctor about naloxone. It is also possible to acquire naloxone from a pharmacy without a prescription.
Northern Valley Harm Reduction Coalition also offers free opioid overdose response training and free Naloxone (Narcan). Visit the Northern Valley Harm Reduction Coalition website for more information.
Enloe Medical Center also has a Substance Use Navigator that can help you get free naloxone. To get your free Naloxone, please reach out to Enloe's Substance Use Navigator at 530-809-6003.
Signs of an Overdose
An overdose (OD) happens when a toxic amount of a drug, or combination of drugs overwhelms the body. Thousands of people die each year from a drug overdose. They come from all walks of life. Do you recognize the signs and symptoms of overdose? Learn the signs and symptoms of an overdose and how to help prevent an overdose tragedy.
The following are signs of an overdose:
- Loss of consciousness
- Unresponsive to outside stimulus
- Awake, but unable to talk
- Breathing is very slow and shallow, erratic, or has stopped
- For lighter-skinned people, the skin tone turns bluish purple, for darker skinned people, it turns grayish or ashen.
- Choking sounds, or a snore-like gurgling noise (sometimes called the "death rattle")
- Body is very limp
- Face is very pale or clammy
- Fingernails and lips turn blue or purplish black
- Pulse (heartbeat) is slow, erratic, or not there at all
What you can do to prevent an opioid overdose:
Always have naloxone available and ensure other people who are likely to nearby know where it is and how to use it.
Know the symptoms of an overdose and how to provide first aid if someone experiences an overdose, give them naloxone, call 911 immediately, and provide rescue breathing until they can breathe on their own. For more information on how to respond to an opioid overdose, please visit the National Harm Reduction Coalition website.
Butte Glenn County Opioid Safety Coalition
Visit the Butte-Glenn Medical Society website for more information.
The Butte-Glenn Opioid Safety Coalition consists of Butte County Behavioral Health, Butte County Public Health, Butte-Glenn Medical Society, and many other county partners. The Coalition has been working to address the opioid epidemic in Butte County through education and outreach, including:
- Coordination of medical community-endorsed Safe Prescribing Guidelines
- Providing academic detailing / education to the medical community
- Outreach to schools to educate them about the risks associated with misusing opioids
- Working with law enforcement and other first responders by providing education about the use of Naloxone, the opioid antidote, to prevent or reverse an opioid overdose in the field.
- Educating prescribers to co-prescribe Naloxone to patients at risk of opioid overdose
- Planning events and forums