Pubdate: Mon, 02 Sep 2013
Source: Chico Enterprise-Record (CA)
Copyright: 2013 Chico Enterprise-Record
Note: Letters from newspaper's circulation area receive publishing priority
Author: James C. Bettencourt


Butte County's citizens have died from drug-induced death at a rate 
3.5 times higher than the state average, according to the California 
Department of Public Health. The majority of these deaths are from 
prescription drug use.

In 2012 only 3 of the 72 overdose deaths were attributed to alcohol 
directly, but frequently overdose victims have used alcohol with other drugs.

According to Butte County Public Health, in 2010 through 2012 drug 
overdoses in Butte County killed 254 victims. This equals 85 overdose 
deaths a year. Someone dies every 4.3 days on average or almost two 
victims per week.

Within the last 10 years, 641 citizens have died from drug overdoses. 
In 2000 there were 13 overdose victims. In 2007 that number went up 
by 81 percent to 67 overdose victims.

Best-case scenario would be for Butte County's hospitals, medical 
professionals, county supervisors, health services, law enforcement, 
city leaders, community service organizations, citizens and Chico 
State University to all say that enough is enough and that it is time 
to address this issue collectively.

Recently Chico lost five victims to alcohol use, and the list from 
the above paragraph mightily awoke from their deep, deep sleep. On 
the other hand in the last decade Butte County has lost over 640 
victims to overdoses and the silence is deafening.

Butte County citizens must decide if men, women and children dying 
from drug overdoses every 4.3 days is acceptable. Is Butte County 
willing to do the hard work needed to begin reducing this extreme 
rate of senseless drug-induced deaths?

- - James C. Bettencourt, Chico
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