Santa Barbara Sheriff's deputies carry Naloxone Hydrochloride (also known as Narcan), a medication that can reverse the life-threatening effects of overdose from heroin or opioid painkillers.
Paul Wellman (file)

According to the most recent statistics, Santa Barbara County’s opioid related death rate was almost twice the statewide average in 2015; Santa Barbara reported a death rate of 7.7 deaths per 100,000 people while statewide, the figure is 4.73. Smaller, more rural counties—like Lake County—report the highest death rate, 27 deaths per 100,000, four times that of Santa Barbara. The report also outlines twice as many opioid prescriptions per 1,000 residents: 1,343. Santa Barbara’s prescription rate is 618.5 per 1,000 residents, slightly higher than the statewide average of 587.

Santa Barbara experienced its most dramatic spike in opioid prescriptions in 2009, jumping in that one year from 401 per 1,000 to 648. From then until the end of 2015 those numbers fluctuated from the high 500s to the low 700s. Santa Barbara’s rate of opioid prescriptions remains slightly lower than neighboring Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties, which report 696.5 and 626 respectively.


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