Butte County Opioid Coalition


For over two decades, deaths from drug overdoses have been steadily increasing and have become the leading cause of injury deaths in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opioids make up most of the drug overdose deaths. In 2017, there were 70,237 drug overdose deaths, with 67.8% of those deaths (47,600) involving an opioid. In Butte County, there were 17 opioid related overdose deaths in 2017. Preventable deaths. This page will serve as a community resource, providing education and local treatment resources.


The two types of opioids are prescription pain medications and street/illicit drugs such as heroin. Prescription pain medications include: Oxycodone, Codeine, Morphine, and Fentanyl. Although opioids are usually prescribed by a doctor, using them in any way other than prescribed, even occasionally, is dangerous. The CDC has identified addiction to prescription pain medication as the strongest risk factor for heroin addiction.

2018 California Opioid Summit Video at Chico State
Check out this video about last year’s opioid summit. To view slideshows, please click here


Understanding the National Epidemic

From 1999-2017, almost 400,000 people died from an overdose involving any
opioid, including prescription and illicit opioids. This rise in opioid overdose deaths
can be outlined in three distinct waves.

  • The first wave began with increased prescribing of opioids in the 1990s, with
    overdose deaths involving prescription opioids (natural and semi-synthetic
    opioids and methadone) increasing since at least 1999.
  • The second wave began in 2010, with rapid increases in overdose deaths
    involving heroin.
  • The third wave began in 2013, with significant increases in overdose deaths
    involving synthetic opioids – particularly those involving illicitly-
    manufactured fentanyl (IMF). The IMF market continues to change, and IMF
    can be found in combination with heroin, counterfeit pills, and cocaine.
The Rx Awareness Campaign

The Rx Awareness campaign tells the real stories of people whose lives were torn apart by prescription opioids. The goal of the campaign is to increase awareness that prescription opioids can be addictive and dangerous. Almost 36 percent of all U.S. opioid overdose deaths involve a
prescription opioid. Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have increase by about 5
times since 1999. From 1999 to 2017, more than 200,000 people died from overdoses
related to prescription opioids, with more than 17,000 overdose deaths involving
prescription opioids occurring in 2017.

Understanding the Opioid Epidemic in Butte County

An assessment looking at the local opioid epidemic revealed that the county has
higher rates than California and the nation as a whole for nearly all opioid related
morbidity and mortality indicators and healthcare delivery system indicators
assessed. These include: opioid overdose death rates; prescription opioid specific
overdose death rates; number of opioid prescriptions per resident; number of
morphine milligram equivalents per resident; number of residents on high dose
opioids; rates of opioid hospitalizations and emergency department visits; number
of residents with concurrent prescriptions for opioids and benzodiazepines; and
neonatal absence syndrome incidence rates. These elevated rates put Butte County
residents at a higher risk for opioid misuse and opioid use disorder (OUD) than
Californians in the vast majority of other counties.



Butte County’s opioid overdose death rate was 7.57 per 100,000 residents in 2017. Out of the 52 California counties, we rank 18th highest. California’s opioid overdose death rate was 5.35 per 100,000 residents.


Butte County’s prescription rate is the highest among all counties in California,
almost twice as much as the CA average. In 2017, the rate was 1036.83 opioid
prescriptions per 1000 residents. California’s rate was 508.65


This is another way to measure the amount of opioid dosing. High MMEs=High
dose. In 2017, Butte County had the highest MME dosing in all of CA. The county
had 1133.12 MME while the state had 421.78


As the opioid epidemic continues to grow, pregnant women and newborn babies are also being affected. The NAS incidence rate for Butte County from 2005 2016 was 15.8 per 1000 births, the 5th highest rate in the state.


In 2017, Butte County had the highest rate of hospitalizations for opioids in the state, including heroin. The hospitalization rate for opioids other than heroin was more than five times the statewide rate, and almost twice the national rate.