County of Marin - News Releases - RxSafe Marin Forum

For Immediate Release
November 07, 2017

Conversations Continue about Opioid Epidemic

RxSafe Marin initiative to discuss life-saving measures at November 15 event

San Rafael, CA – The White House’s recent response to the prescription drug abuse crisis highlighted the need for local action to address the  complex epidemic. RxSafe Marin, Marin County’s grassroots prescription drug abuse initiative is gathering next week to discuss next steps in the pledge to eliminate overdose deaths.

Dr. Jeff DeVido of Marin County Health and Human Services holds up an intranasal naloxone device.Dr. Jeff DeVido of Marin County Health and Human Services shows a dose of intranasal naloxone.
Collectively, the RxSafe Marin movement sees every local overdose death as preventable, and strategies implemented to save lives are achieving traction. It is hosting a free community forum titled “Preventing Opioid Misuse: Saving Lives with Medications” from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. November 15 at the Marin County Office of Education, 1111 Las Gallinas Avenue, San Rafael.

RxSafe Marin has been building on the work of community activists, Marin HHS, the Marin County District Attorney’s Office, the Marin County Public Defender’s Office, Marin County Office of Education and many other stakeholders. One of the first such coalitions in the state, the effort recently received awards for innovation from the California Department of Health and Human Services, the California State Association of Counties, and the County of Marin. 

It’s been two years since Marin doctors committed to adhere to new set of common standards for prescribing painkillers. Developed in collaboration with Marin HHS, RxSafe Marin, and the Marin Medical Society, the guidelines aim to improve patient outcomes and limit the risk of harm when using opioids for pain. Since then the county has seen a significant decline in opioid prescriptions, with a 30 percent reduction from 2014-2016. Overdose death rates also declined 27 percent during the interval.

Two physicians with the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis and Chief of Addiction Medicine Dr. Jeff DeVido – will be among the featured speakers at the November 15 forum. The key topics will be the definitions of addiction, new opportunities for treating addiction, and how to reverse an overdose.

Despite all the effort of RxSafe Marin partners in the community, the fact remains that the leading cause of accidental death in the county is drug overdose, accounting for more deaths annually than motor vehicle accidents.

“We have a lot of excellent progress to report, but I don’t see this group doing any celebrating until we reach our goal, which is zero overdose deaths,” Willis said.

RxSafe Marin has been at the forefront of making naloxone, a medication that reverses an opioid overdose, more available countywide. Naloxone blocks the effects of opioids during an overdose and restores breathing. Public safety workers and the friends and family members of those at risk for overdose are being encouraged to carry naloxone. 

RxSafe Marin will host learning forums on key topics related to prescription drug misuse and abuse on a quarterly basis. The session in   March will focus on Safe Pain Management, highlighting effective alternatives to prescription painkillers.   

The free event includes lunch. An online RSVP is required. Community feedback on the issue is always welcomed at or 415-473-6731.


Dr. Matthew Willis
Public Health Officer
Health and Human Services

3240 Kerner Blvd.
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 473-4163
Email: Dr. Matthew Willis
Marin HHS website