California Adds Resources to Fight the Opioid Crisis

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Building on California’s comprehensive approach to fight the opioid crisis — including a billion dollar Master Plan — today the state is launching Opioids.CA.GOV, a one-stop-shop for Californians seeking resources around prevention and treatment, as well as information on how California is working to hold Big Pharma and drug-traffickers accountable in this crisis.

SACRAMENTO – Today, Governor Newsom is launching a new tool to continue California’s efforts in fighting the ongoing opioid crisis – a comprehensive website with resources for Californians: Opioids.CA.GOV. This website serves as a reliable source of information on prevention, data, treatment, and support where Californians can also access information related to the state’s use of opioid settlement funds and efforts to hold drug-traffickers accountable. 

Additionally, California is investing nearly $8 million in local organizations to support education, testing, recovery and support services – focusing on closing gaps in access to care and reducing inequities for populations at greater risk for overdose. These investments are being made in local organizations in Northern California, the Central Valley, and Southern California.

These initiatives are part of Governor Newsom’s billion-dollar Master Plan, a multi-pronged approach to tackle the opioid crisis, prevent and reduce overdoses and deaths, and support people struggling with substance abuse and addiction.

“The opioid crisis touches every person and every community in the country. This new website aims to support all Californians, from victims of the crisis to their loved ones to providers, and more,” said Governor Gavin Newsom.

WHY THIS MATTERS: Nearly 7,000 Californians died from opioid-related overdoses in 2022. Over 83,000 opioid-related overdose deaths occur per year across the country – more than 90% of which involve fentanyl. With opioids continuing to be a main driver of drug overdose deaths, this new, easy-to-navigate site provides valuable information and education on preventing and treating opioid overdoses and substance use disorders – crucial steps in fighting the ongoing epidemic in California and across the country.

ABOUT THE WEBSITE: There are five main sections:

  • About: Background on opioids and fentanyl, the serious harms they can cause, and the evolution of the opioid crisis.
  • Prevention: Prevention methods and strategies that anyone can use, including step-by-step guidance for responding to a suspected or confirmed opioid overdose.
  • Data & Information: The latest overdose and substance abuse and misuse data and trends.
  • Treatment & Support: Resources for those struggling with, or supporting someone with, an opioid use disorder or addiction.
  • California Action: Details on California’s efforts to tackle the opioid epidemic, including use of settlement funds and enforcement actions targeting traffickers and dealers.

Recently, Governor Newsom announced a new legislative effort to increase penalties for the illicit trafficking of the drug xylazine, also known as “tranq” – to get ahead of a new wave in the opioid crisis. Xylazine – an animal tranquilizer with no approved human use – is increasingly being found in the illicit drug supply, and has been linked to rising overdose deaths across the country. The legislation would make xylazine a controlled substance, but exempt legitimate veterinary use, making illicit trafficking of xylazine subject to increased criminal penalties while maintaining veterinarians’ access to the drug for approved use in animals.

BIGGER PICTURE: This resource hub builds on the Governor’s Master Plan for Tackling the Fentanyl and Opioid Crisis, which includes an expansion of CalGuard-supported operations that last year led to a 594% increase in seized fentanyl and historic levels of funding — $1 billion statewide — to crack down on the crisis, assist those struggling with substance abuse and increase prevention efforts. Specifically on xylazine, the state has been working with the public and with health care partners, clinicians, and veterinarians to proactively raise awareness of the threat it poses.