County of Marin - News Releases - RxSafe Marin

For Immediate Release
August 31, 2018

Public Forum on Fentanyl, Heroin, Other Opioids

RxSafe Marin initiative co-hosts special event September 12

San Rafael, CA – A national expert in opioid use disorder will be the featured speaker at a free special public event co-hosted by the grassroots RxSafe Marin coalition, the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Dominican University of California.

Dr. Dan Ciccarone of the UC San Francisco School of Medicine will discuss the latest trends in the shifting opioid epidemic starting at 11 a.m. Wednesday, September 12, at Dominican’s Angelico Hall. Afterward, panelists including Bay Area-based Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Riebli will discuss strategies to address the trends on a local scale.

Badge pins that say RxSafe Marin on them.RxSafe Marin is a grassroots coalition of agencies and individuals committed to addressing drug abuse and other health threats.
The latest figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicate an all-time high of 72,000 opioid overdose deaths nationally in 2017. Progress in addressing prescription opioid overdoses is being offset by increases in fentanyl and heroin use. Even Marin County has been impacted, with two fentanyl overdoses in the first two weeks of August 2018.  

In order to better understand and address this pattern, Ciccarone and his UCSF colleagues have visited cities around the country to examine the rising use of novel opioids, changing drug markets and resulting public health consequences.

People struggling with opioid addiction in Marin have more treatment options than ever. Still, only a minority of people who need that treatment are getting it for various reasons, and drug overdoses remain the leading cause of accidental death in the county.

RxSafe Marin, closely associated with Marin HHS, has been at the forefront of making naloxone (also known as Narcan) more available countywide. Naloxone blocks the effects of opioids during an overdose and restores breathing. All police agencies in Marin are carrying naloxone in squad cars these days.

RxSafe Marin builds 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 innovation awards from the California Department of Public Health and the California State Association of Counties.

Registration for the September 12 event is online. Students who participate might be eligible for community service hours and will receive a certificate for their attendance upon request. Angelico Hall is at 50 Acacia Drive in San Rafael. 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