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Opioid Use

Opioids are pain relievers including codeine, morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl, Vicodin, and OxyContin. They are often used for acute pain such as after a surgery or an injury. They should be used with caution and under the close supervision of a medical provider because they can have serious side effects including decreasing or stopping breathing. Using opioids for as little as a few weeks could lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms when the drug is discontinued.

  • Every year there are, on average, 44 deaths in Sonoma County due to accidental drug overdose.
  • Annually on average, there are 476 emergency department visits for accidental drug overdose among Sonoma County residents. 
  • As many as 1 in 4 people who are taking a prescription opioid long term obtained from their primary care provider struggle with physical and/or psychological dependence.

If you think you are experiencing physical and/or psychological dependence to opioids, call Sonoma County Health Services at (707) 565-7450 for substance use disorder treatment assessment and referral.


How to help someone you believe is overdosing (if you're unsure, you should still do the following):

The DO's:

  • Call 911- getting help fast is very important to save a person's life
  • If the person IS NOT breathing, put them on their back and begin mouth to mouth breathing, one breath every 5 seconds
  • If the person IS breathing, turn them on their side because they might vomit, and you don’t want them to choke or inhale their vomit into their lungs
  • Make sure to stay with the person and keep them warm

The DON'Ts:

  • Never waste time
  • Don’t put the person into a cold shower or ice bath because it might cause shock
  • Don’t try to make the person vomit because they might choke or inhale the vomit into their lungs


For more information visit:

Sonoma County Health Department

Safe Marin


National Institutes on Drug Abuse

Johns Hopkins Medicine