Local News

Local News in Contra Costa County:

CONCORD: Linking Migrants with Fentanyl is Wrong and Dangerous.

February 6, 2024: Most illicit fentanyl is indeed made abroad and smuggled over the southern border. But it’s largely transported by U.S. citizens, not migrants. Read more here

The U.S. Executive Office for Immigration Review of the federal Justice Department has leased 72,800 square fee at Concord Gateway II at 1855 Gateway Blvd. in Concord.

Digital Intelligence is Key to Fighting Opioid Epidemic.

February 6, 2024: A $26 billion settlement fund can provide the means and opportunity for communities to expand high-tech investigations. Read more here

A bag of assorted pills and prescription drugs dropped off for disposal is displayed during the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 20th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day at Watts Healthcare on April 24, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US has seen an increase in drug overdose deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic, accelerating significantly during the first months of the public health emergency, including deaths from opioids and counterfeit pills containing fentanyl.

SAN PABLO: Santa Clara County to Sink Roughly $930,000 into A&A Health Services in San Pablo.

January 10, 2024: The county has also agreed to continue funding A&A Health Services, a mental health provider in San Pablo, California, with roughly $930,000 for 24/7 residential treatment services. Read more here.

A & A Health Services in San Pablo, California

CONCORD: Man charged with murder in December fentanyl overdose.

January 3, 2024: A Concord man has been arrested and charged with murder in connection with the accidental overdose death of a man who ingested counterfeit painkiller pills that contained the deadly drug fentanyl, authorities say. Fernando Gallaga, 27, was charged in December with murder in the death of Jesus Soto-Garcia, 26, by giving Soto-Garcia fentanyl pills that appeared to be an opiate painkiller, according to court records. Gallaga has not yet entered a plea, and is next due in court on Jan. 10. Authorities say that Soto-Garcia overdosed and died at Gallaga’s Concord home on Dec. 12. Read more here

A Concord police car. Photo: Concord Police Department.

December 27, 2023: Two officers with the San Ramon Police Department were taken to an area hospital Wednesday after being exposed to narcotics thought to be fentanyl during the arrest of two suspects in the parking lot of a Safeway store. Read More Here.

The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District is on-scene decontaminating a vehicle suspected of containing fentanyl. 

December 26, 2023: A probable cause search of the vehicle was conducted, and the officer located suspected marijuana, a suspected LSD sheet, suspected Percocet pills, suspected morphine laced with fentanyl, and suspected fentanyl. The driver was placed under arrest and booked into jail. Read More Here.

Drugs, cash and cell phones confiscated during traffic stop and arrest on December 12, 2023. Photo: Hercules Police Department

ANTIOCH: Backpack With Drugs Located Outside of Antioch Middle School. 

December 20, 2023: At 10:16 am on Wednesday, Contra Costa County firefighters responded to Antioch Middle School on a report of a backpack with drugs. Read More Here.

The Antioch Unified School District headquarters in Antioch, California

December 14, 2023: Students are dying at an alarming rate across America due to drug overdoses. With drug usage on the rise, we all need to do our part to try and keep youth from falling prey to death by overdose. Statistics in Contra Costa County in 2022 show that there have been at least 169 recorded opioid overdoses. Read More Here.

La Paloma High School (Brentwood, CA)

December 6, 2023: Six Kaiser Permanente Northern California hospitals are ranked among the nation’s best for providing safe, high-quality patient care, according to the Leapfrog Group’s 2023 Top Hospital award. The six Kaiser Permanente Northern California hospitals to receive the award include: Antioch, Richmond, San Leandro, San Rafael, Santa Clara and South San Francisco. Read More Here.

Source: Kaiser Permanente

RICHMOND: City of Richmond Proclaims December 1st as World AIDS Day. 

December 1, 2023: The City of Richmond issued a proclamation recognizing December 1st as World AIDS Day. Last night, there was a small gathering at City Hall to remember the many lives that have been lost to the virus. Read the proclamation below. 

November 30, 2023: People in Contra Costa County can get support during a behavioral health crisis 24/7, beginning Friday. Contra Costa Health said Tuesday that its A3 program will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People facing a behavioral health, mental health or substance use crisis can call the A3 Miles Hall Crisis Call Center 24/7 at 844-844-5544 for care over the phone and have an in-person team dispatched to them if needed. Read More Here.

A community support worker with the A3 Miles Hall Crisis Call Center speaks with a client in an undated image from video. Contra Costa County is expanding the A3 program (which stands for Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime) to offer around-the-clock behavioral health services beginning this Friday. The program is on pace to receive 4,500 calls this year alone. (Contra Costa Health/YouTube)

November 28, 2023: A Concord teenager who donated his organs to save the lives of others will be honored at the 135th Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. Joseph “Joe” Barratt, 18, was walking home from a library when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver near Highway 4 on Feb. 10, 2020. The popular Concord High School student spent three days in a trauma center at John Muir Health in Walnut Creek. Read More Here.

Joseph “Joe” Barratt (Image Courtesy Sutter Health)

November 25, 2023: Dr. Alireza Moheb was sentenced earlier this month by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White, after pleading guilty to a federal drug conspiracy count. The sentence was agreed upon by prosecutors, who noted that the “mitigating” factors behind Moheb’s crime — like his own struggles with addiction — warranted leniency. The sentence is one year of federal supervised release, avoiding jail or prison altogether, to resolve charges that he distributed prescriptions for opiate painkillers in exchange for cocaine from two Antioch drug dealers. Read More Here.

Dr. Alireza Moheb avoided federal prison after pleading guilty to a drug distribution charge.

November 25, 2023: John Muir Health’s Walnut Creek Medical Center recently attained Magnet recognition again, which is a testament to its continued dedication to high-quality nursing practice. The American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program® distinguishes health care organizations that meet rigorous standards for nursing excellence. This credential is the highest national honor for professional nursing practice. Read More Here.

Photo: John Muir Health Walnut Creek Medical Center

ANTIOCH: Antioch to Respond to Grand Jury on Mental Health Response. 

November 24, 2023: The Antioch City Council will look to approve its response to a request from the Contra Costa Grand Jury on its mental health crisis response. Back in October of 2022, the city council approved its own crisis response team versus working with Contra Costa County. It came with a cost of between $1.8 to $2.2 million per year and the city is using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for the pilot. Since the launch, however, no data has been provided to the public on the program such as number of calls or program effectiveness. Read More Here.

Photo: Antioch City Council

November 23, 2023: Authorities administered Narcan but failed to revive two people found unresponsive at BART stations in Oakland and San Francisco on Wednesday night. BART police also provided Narcan in a third incident, to a man suffering from an apparent drug overdose at the Richmond Station platform about 1:20 a.m. Thursday. The man regained consciousness after three doses and was taken to a hospital for treatment, police said. Read More Here.

The Richmond BART station

November 21, 2023: Contra Costa Health (CCH) will build a new mental health rehabilitation center and fill a critical gap in county mental health services, thanks to an $18.6 million grant from the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).

The facility, planned for a county-owned property at 847 Brookside Drive in Richmond, will serve patients experiencing serious mental illness who need 24-hour residential care, but don’t need hospitalization. Residents who need that level of care must now travel out of the community – sometimes across the state – to find it. Read More Here.

November 19, 2023: Government regulators are seeking to block John Muir Health’s acquisition of San Ramon Regional Medical Center from Tenet Healthcare, citing concerns about the planned deal’s potential to reduce competition for health care in the valley and thereby threatening quality and costs to patients. Read More Here.

San Ramon Regional Medical Center had been poised for a change in ownership prior to FTC action on November 17 seeking to block the deal.

November 14, 2023: Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill Oct. 8 requiring all California State Universities to provide fentanyl testing strips on campus. The California Assembly Bill 461 requires every CSU health center to stock and distribute fentanyl testing strips. Alongside every kit, there will be instructions on how to use the test strips as well as information about opioids. The testing strips will allow students to detect the presence of fentanyl in different kinds of drugs preventing overdose. Read More Here.

An aerial view of California State University East Bay’s campus in Concord, California

RICHMOND: Richmond Event Promotes Well-Being for Those Dealing with Substance Abuse.

November 10, 2023: A group of young adults led the second annual Rich City Kickback in Richmond, California, which offered massage, meditation and other healthy alternatives for dealing with mental health than using drugs and alcohol. Read more here.

A group of young adults led the second annual Rich City Kickback in Richmond which offered massage, meditation and other healthy alternatives for dealing with mental health than using drugs and alcohol.

November 8, 2023: At least 107, 422 people died of drug overdoses in the United States between April 2022 and March 2023, more than double the 52, 404 deaths in 2015. Of those, 631 deaths were in San Francisco County and 11, 403 in CaliforniaRead More Here.

November 4, 2023: While parents worry about fentanyl, they need to worry about Pink too. The drug is very deadly, cheap, and easy to get. Read More Here

October 30, 2023: A San Pablo Police Department K-9 officer assisted in a drug bust Thursday night in which over 1,100 ecstasy pills were seized. K-9 officer Swaleh pulled over a car Thursday, San Pablo PD said. Read More Here

 
Photo: San Pablo PD

October 26, 2023: The annual National Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday, October 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. You can take unneeded medications to the following locations: 

  • The Office of the County Sheriff, 1850 Muir Road in Martinez, CA
  • Sandy Cove Shopping Center (between CVS and Safeway) at 14840 Highway 4 in Discovery Bay, CA
  • Brentwood Police Department, 9100 Brentwood Blvd in Brentwood, CA

 Read More Here

An aerial view of the Sandy Cove Shopping Center in Discovery Bay, California. On Saturday, October 28, you can bring your expired and unneeded medications here between CVS and Safeway from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

October 27, 2023: On Saturday, October 28, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous, expired, or unused prescription drugs. Read More Here

A screenshot of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s office hosting DEA Take-Back Day. On Saturday, October 28, you can bring your expired and unneeded medications here from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

October 27, 2023: On Saturday, October 28, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) invite residents of Lamorinda and Contra Costa County to participate in National Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday. Read more here.

Drop-Off Locations in Contra Costa County:

  • Lafayette Police Department, 3471 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette
  • Orinda Police Department, 22 Orinda Way, Orinda
  • Muir Station, 1980 Muir Road, Martinez
  • Bay Station, 5555 Giant Highway, Richmond
  • Valley Station, 150 Alamo Plaza, #C, Alamo
  • Delta Station, 14830 Highway 4, Discovery Bay
  • Danville Police Department, 510 La Gonda Way, Danville
A screenshot of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s office hosting DEA Take-Back Day. On Saturday, October 28, you can bring your expired and unneeded medications here from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

October 23, 2023: American Family Care (AFC), the nation’s leading provider of urgent care, accessible primary care, and occupational medicine, continues its West Coast expansion with the opening of its newest location in Brentwood, California. The new clinic aims offer accessible and convenient medical care to the rapidly growing East Bay region. Read More Here

American Family Care’s newest location in Brentwood, California

WALNUT CREEK: City of Walnut Creek Declares October as National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. 

October 18, 2023: The City of Walnut Creek declared October as National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month, which is observed annually to raise awareness of the dangers of prescription and over-the-counter medicine abuse. In their proclamation, the City of Walnut Creek highlighted the Contra Costa County MEDS Coalition’s role in National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month by engaging youth and adult stakeholders in from across Contra Costa County to learn more about the dangers of medicine abuse, promoting safe medication storage and disposal, and ensuring that naloxone is available for those at high risk of overdose. You can read the entire proclamation below. 

SAN RAMON: San Ramon Agencies Launch Behavioral Health Response Program.

October 11, 2023:  The San Ramon fire district and police department announced the start of a new behavioral health response program that has been in the works since 2021 and will see firefighters with the district — rather than law enforcement — respond to most mental health calls in the same timeframe as other medical emergencies in San Ramon. Read More Here

Fire Station 36 & Annex building for the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District

October 10, 2023:  Yesterday, after four days of deliberation, a jury in Contra Costa County returned guilty verdicts against the parents who abused their infant son – which caused his death. The injuries to the baby included a broken femur, burn marks on his face and other parts of his body, fractured ribs, a skull fracture, and bleeding inside his skull. Additionally, the child suffered from severe malnutrition, and dehydration — as well as testing positive for methamphetamine. Read more here

Wakefield Taylor Courthouse in Martinez, California

MARTINEZ: Some California School Campuses Will Be Required to Stock Fentanyl Tests.

October 9, 2023:  The bill, AB 461, applies to California State Universities and community colleges and requires them to stock the tests and provide information about how to use them. The bill also requests that University of California campuses comply with the requirements. Read More Here

PLEASANT HILL: Information About Teenagers, Opioids, & Fentanyl Parents Need.

October 8, 2023: The problem with drugs has become overwhelming. Dr. Michael Rubino, a licensed psychotherapist with offices in Pleasant Hill and Pittsburg, provides information about opioids, fentanyl and teenagers in 2023 that parents need. Read More Here.

PLEASANT HILL: Diablo Valley College Seeks to Combat Opioid Epidemic Through Overdose Prevention Trainings.

September 28, 2023: Diablo Valley College hosted the first in a series of online training to educate students and faculty about opioid overdose prevention and provided instruction in the use of the emergency drug Naloxone, better known under its brand name Narcan. Read more here.

Diablo Valley College Commons Area (Pleasant Hill, CA)

MARTINEZ: Man Suffering Mental Health Crisis Runs Into Alhambra High School in Martinez. 

September 28, 2023: The Martinez Police Department say a man was placed on a 72-hour mental health evaluation hold after running onto Alhambra High School on Wednesday. Read more here.

Alhambra High School in Martinez, California

MORAGA: Saint Mary’s College of California Offers Students a Myriad of Support Through Annual Wellness Fair

September 27, 2023: Saint Mary’s College of California began its 2023-2024 school year with its annual Wellness Fair, which is held every September. The fair’s purpose is to provide vocational, spiritual, financial, environmental, physical, social, mental, and emotional support for not only freshman but for anyone needing a “well-being” void filled in their lives. Held September 20 at Dante Hall’s grassy quad with the scent of free barbecue wafting in the air, students in between classes came out to enjoy the moment and receive information at several booths touting a variety of services, including pet therapy, to meet anyone’s needs. Read more here.

Saint Mary’s College of California (Moraga, CA)

RICHMOND: The City of Richmond to Launch Pilot Crisis Response Program, Taking Police Off Certain Calls.

September 24, 2023: Richmond City Council took a big step this month toward an alternative emergency response program that would give residents an option to calling the police. Expected to start in August as an 18-month pilot, the Community Crisis Response Program will serve as a non-police emergency service, responding to mental health or low-level emergency 911 calls such as family disputes or wellness checks. In Richmond, the conversation started in 2014, when 24-year-old Richard “Pedie” Perez III, who was unarmed, was shot multiple times and killed by a Richmond police officer outside of Uncle Sam’s Liquors. Read more here.

Richmond City Council in Richmond, California

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY: Counties where the most opioids are dispensed in California.

September 22, 2023: Overall in California, the opioid dispensing rate was 28.5 per 100 people, compared to 43.3 nationally. Read more here
 

Contra Costa County’s opioid dispensing rate is 22.9 per 100 people — 19.6% lower than the state average and 47.1% lower than the national average. 

September 7, 2023: PEI (Prevention & Early Intervention) will partner with “Find Your Anchor” to build care packages during the event which will contain mental health resources for those in need. Read More Here.
 

Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez, California

Voices of the Epidemic: Walter Langhammer.

August 24, 2023: The nationwide drug epidemic driven by the arrival of fentanyl has inflicted extraordinary pain and suffering. Families have lost loved ones. Parents have lost children. And countless people have simply lost their way. Seeking to better understand the crisis, the Chronicle and Hearst Newspapers have in recent months gathered data for a first-of-its-kind national, county-by-county tracker of fatal drug overdoses, which have killed more than a million people in the United States since 1999. As part of this effort, reporters Mallory Moench, Sarah Ravani and Kevin Fagan, with photographer Stephen Lam, spent time with people who have been personally impacted by the ongoing epidemic and agreed to discuss their experiences and perspectives. Their words have been slightly edited for clarity. To hear more from them, listen to the Chronicle’s “Fifth & Mission” podcast by clicking on the audio player below or finding the show on your favorite podcast platform. Read more here.

For Years, Women Said This Walnut Creek Bartender Raped Them, With No Arrests. Then One Detective Connected the Dots and Found 7 Alleged Victims.

August 30, 2023: Since 2018, reports of sexual assault involving 35-year-old Brandon Delliquadri have been piling up. Yet it wasn’t until last month that investigators connected the dots and brought a case to Contra Costa County prosecutors, who charged him with raping four victims. Now, prosecutors have connected Delliquadri to three additional sexual assaults, and authorities say they’re still investigating the possibility that more victims are out there.

Delliquadri, a Walnut Creek resident, was known in the local bar scene. Authorities say he has worked both as a bartender and a bouncer at various establishments around the Bay Area, and that in more than one instance, he appeared to target intoxicated women at bars for sexual assaults. Police also seized unidentified medication from his Milton Avenue home in Walnut Creek and are conducting tests to see if he possessed any narcotics that are commonly used as date-rape drugs, according to court records. Read more here.

Brandon Delliquadri, 35, has now been charged with raping seven women in separate incidents around the Bay Area. (Photo courtesy of WCPD)

Kaiser Permanente: Stopping Opioid Overdoses, No Questions Asked.

August 23, 2023: Kaiser Permanente emergency departments in Northern California are dispensing a free overdose-reversing nasal spray called Narcan, along with an in-person primer on how to use it. In 2022, about 72,000 people died nationwide from synthetic opioid overdoses, including fentanyl, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Kaiser Permanente emergency departments in Northern California see the most visits due to opioid-related problems in Sacramento, followed by South Sacramento, Richmond, Roseville, and San Leandro. Read more here.

Kaiser Richmond Medical Center in downtown Richmond, California. Along with Sacramento, South Sacrament, Roseville, and San Leandro, the Richmond emergency department experiences the most visits due to opioid-related problems in Sacramento, followed by South Sacramento, Richmond, Roseville, and San Leandro.

 

Alleged Co-founder of ‘Murder Mob’ Concord Sureño Gang Sentenced to 9 Years for Drug Conspiracy.

August 21, 2023: A Martinez resident who allegedly became a leader of a Concord Sureño gang subset, then founded his own clique called the Murder Mob, has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison for conspiring to sell cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin, court records show. Read more here.

Firearms, cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl was found during a 2019 search of Jose Ochoa’s residence, according to authorities. (Northern District California Court Records)

CONCORD: Congressman Desaulnier to Host Youth Mental Health Town Hall & Resource Fair at the John Muir Health, Concord Medical Center. 

August 16, 2023: Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10) announced he will host an in-person town hall and resource fair focused on youth mental health at the John Muir Health, Concord Medical Center on August 22nd from 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. The Congressman will be joined by a panel of experts including Lynn Mackey from the Contra Costa County Office of Education,  Jill Murphy of Common Sense Media, Gigi Crowder of NAMI Contra Costa, Dr. Lauren Nelson and Anna Sabio from John Muir Health, and more from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. The speakers will cover a variety of issues surrounding improving mental health support for young people with an emphasis on race and equity, suicide prevention, understanding the impact of social media and technology on our youth, school and education resources, youth mental health in the LGBTQ+ community, and more. From 2:30 – 3:30 p.m., there will be a resource fair where members of the community can connect with local organizations to learn more about their important work and how to access mental health resources. Read more here

PLEASANT HILL: Guide seeks to help parents navigate substance abuse and mental health concerns in teens.

August 14, 2023: Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) has developed a new online guide titled “Substance Use, Mental Health, & Teens: A Guide for Parents & Other Caring Adults”, which focuses on resources to protect and care for teens facing substance abuse and mental health challenges. Created by the agency’s Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) department, the resource was inspired by April Rovero, Founder/Director of the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse (NCAPDA), to equip adults with knowledge and resources they need to support young people in their lives to make positive decisions regarding their health. To read more, click here.

                                                             


Man Dies of Apparent Overdose on BART Train, Officials Say

July 10, 2023: A man died aboard a BART train Monday morning of an apparent overdose, a spokesman for the transit operator said. Despite the efforts of paramedics who responded to Concord station and provided life-saving measures, the man was pronounced dead at the scene. To read more, click here.

A northbound train leaving Concord station

CONCORD: Mount Diablo Unified School District Holds First-of-its-Kind Fentanyl Awareness Event.

July 10, 2023: It might be the middle of summer, but on Monday night, dozens of people packed the gym at Ignacio Valley High School in Concord. All of them there to take part in a first-of-its-kind fentanyl awareness program for the Mount Diablo Unified School District. To read more, click here.

Mt. Diablo Unified School District held a first-of-its-kind fentanyl awareness event Monday night for students and parents.          

State Awards $5.7 Million to Fight Opioid Use in LGBTQ+ Communities.

July 10, 2023: As part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $1 billion Master Plan for tackling the fentanyl and opioid crisis, California has awarded $5.7 million for opioid and stimulant use education and outreach in LGBTQ+ communities. Read more here

Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa County (Concord, CA)          

PITTSBURG: Pittsburg Store Clerk Arrested for Allegedly Selling Drugs Out of Store.

June 29, 2023: A Pittsburg convenience store clerk was arrested for allegedly selling drugs to minors at their job, the Pittsburg Police Department said. PPD found a hidden compartment at the store that contained illicit products. Police found the drugs while conducting a compliance check to ensure the store wasn’t selling tobacco to minors, per police. Read more here.

Images below show boxes filled with vape products.

Firearm and Fentanyl Found in the Vehicle of a Man Passed Out in Brentwood.

June 26, 2023: The Brentwood Police Department announced the arrest of an Antioch man after a driver he was passed out in a vehicle. According to police, over the weekend, Brentwood officers received a report of a male passed out inside of a car at the 1100 block of Arlington Way. When officers responded they noticed the car was still running and they attempted to wake the driver, who was identified as 29 year-old Marcos Martinez Tovar of Antioch. Read more here.

Photo by Brentwood Police

WALNUT CREEK: California Attorney General Announces Four Multi-Billion Dollar Nationwide Opioid Settlements.

June 9, 2023: California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced four multi-billion opioid settlements with pharmacies CVS and Walgreens and manufacturers Allergan and Teva are moving forward. The settlements are together worth up to $17.3 billion and address the companies’ role in the opioid crisis. The Walgreens and CVS deals are the first multistate settlements to hold chain retail pharmacies to answer for their role in the crisis. Today’s announcement is an important milestone in California’s efforts to address an epidemic that has destroyed communities and ripped apart families. Read more here.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks in Walnut Creek, California. Bonta announced that California cities and counties could receive more than $2 billion as part of a national settlement with drug distributors and manufacturers for their alleged role in the opioid epidemic. 

OAKLEY: Oakley Police Use Narcan to Save Woman’s Life at Big Break Marina.

May 18, 2023: Oakley police officers and paramedics had to use five doses of Narcan, a lifesaving opioid overdose-revering treatment, to revive a woman who overdosed on fentanyl inside a vehicle Wednesday. Read more here.

Bottles of Narcan (Image courtesy Oakley Police Department)

DANVILLE: San Ramon Valley Fentanyl Workshop To Assess Local Risk, Resources.

May 15, 2023: The Danville Area Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Three Valleys Community Foundation to offer a workshop Monday evening on the fentanyl crisis. The free Monday night workshop, which is part of the Chamber of Commerce’s Youth Mental Health Outreach Initiative, will bring together local experts to explain more about fentanyl, the local risk, and what the community is doing to keep its children safe. The workshop will feature overdose rescue training, a free Narcan kit, and information about local resources. Read more here.

The workshop will bring together local experts to explain more about fentanyl, the local risk, and what the community is doing to keep its children safe.

Bottles of Narcan (Image courtesy Oakley Police Department)

ANTIOCH: The City of Antioch Unveils Mental Health Crisis Response Unit Named After Angelo Quinto.

May 8, 2023: Antioch officials welcomed the city’s first mental health crisis response team and its mobile crisis response van Monday morning. It is named in honor of Angelo Quinto, a 30-year-old Antioch resident who his family says died in police custody while experiencing a mental health episode. Read more here.

Antioch launched a community response team to report to calls about mental health crises and other incidents that normally would have required police.

DANVILLE: Town of Danville Issues Proclamation Declaring March as National Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month.

March 21, 2023: Danville Mayor Robert Storer and the Danville Town Council approved a proclamation to observe Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month, part of a statewide effort to draw attention to an epidemic that causes thousands of deaths nationwide every year during the town council’s meeting. Read the town’s proclamation here.

Danville Town Offices building in Danville, California

City of Pleasant Hill’s Proclamation declaring March as Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month. 

City of Pleasant Hill Issues Proclamation Declaring March as National Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month.

March 20, 2023: The Pleasant Hill City Council and Mayor approved a proclamation today to observe Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month, part of a statewide effort to draw attention to an epidemic that causes thousands of deaths nationwide every year. Read the city’s proclamation here.

City of Pleasant Hill’s Proclamation declaring March as Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month. 

March 7, 2023: Doctors and dentists working for Contra Costa County say they are understaffed, overworked and underpaid. Their union has been working without a contract for more than four months. Now, its membership has authorized a strike if state mediation fails. Read more here.

Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez, a full-service hospital that offers a complete array of patient-centered health care services.

February 23, 2023: The Physicians’ and Dentists’ Organization of Contra Costa (PDOCC) said that according to county data, 83 out of 285 employed positions are listed as vacant in Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS), a 29% vacancy rate. Read more here

Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez, a full-service hospital that offers a complete array of patient-centered health care services.

February 22, 2023: In recognition of March as Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month, the Mount Diablo Unified School District issued a proclamation to raise awareness of the dangers of prescription and over-the-counter medicine abuse. Read the proclamation here

The Mount Diablo Unified School District administration building in Concord, California

February 22, 2023: In light of a recent fentanyl-related drug overdose at Acalanes High School on January 13, conversations regarding student drug use have increased. The topics of these conversations have included ways to spot signs of intoxication, questions as to why students engage with drugs, and information on how to perform life-saving measures in the event of an overdose. Read more here

Campolindo High School in Moraga, California

February 21, 2023: An Alamo man accused of possessing more than 100 fentanyl pills and selling them made his first appearance in federal court on Tuesday, according to an announcement from the Department of Justice. Prosecutors allege that Ozymandias Troy Watson, 18, possessed 130 “M30” pills containing fentanyl with intent to distribute them, and that he also provided pills to someone who subsequently died of an overdose. If convicted of intent to distribute fentanyl, Watson is looking at a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. Read more here

This photo provided by the U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah and introduced as evidence in a 2019 trial shows fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills collected during an investigation.

February 21, 2023: On Jan. 13, a high school nurse saved the life of a 17-year-old girl by giving her a dose of Narcan after she was found unresponsive in a school bathroom from a fentanyl overdose. Soon, police had the name of her alleged drug supplier: a Contra Costa County resident named Javier Antonio Ramirez. But almost immediately, the investigation switched gears from a potential fentanyl dealing case to allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Read more here.

Photo: Contra Costa Sheriff’s vehicle in Martinez, California

February 9, 2023:  A year and a half after the death of 14-year-old Concord High School student Valentina Langhammer, her family said Thursday they’re finally getting justice. Read more here

February 9, 2023: State data shows that the opioid epidemic is hitting a handful of Bay Area ZIP codes particularly hard. Some ZIP codes in Contra Costa County saw more drastic one-year increases of opioid-related deaths. For example, the 94507 ZIP code, south of Walnut Creek, had a rate of 6.5 in 2021, after reporting no opioid-related deaths in 2020, while the 94801 ZIP code, in North Richmond, had a rate of 3.5, up from 1.4. Read more here

The opioid epidemic is hitting some Bay Area ZIP codes harder than others.

February 1, 2023: In the California Legislature, AB 19, introduced by Assembly Member Joe Patterson states that each individual public school operated by a school district, county office of education, or charter school shall maintain at least two doses of naloxone hydrochloride or another opioid antagonist on its campus. This is already the practice of area high schools, and local TK-12 districts are also responding. Read more here

Acalanes High School in Lafayette, California

 

February 1, 2023: A man was found dead Friday in an apartment complex on Crestfield Drive just before 9:00 a.m. Police believe that the young man may have overdosed on opiates, but the investigation is ongoing. Read more here

A San Ramon police car on Minerva Way.

January 23, 2023: A Contra Costa County coroner’s inquest jury has ruled that a man who was in custody at the Martinez Detention Facility last summer died by suicide. The man, identified as 54-year-old Kent Hickey, died in the facility on July 26. The inquest jury determined that the death was a suicide after hearing testimonies from multiple witnesses, according to a news release from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office. Read more here

The Martinez Detention Facility in Martinez, California

 

If you or someone you know is struggling with feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers free, round-the-clock support, information and resources for help. Reach the lifeline at 988 or 800-273-8255, or see the 988lifeline.org website.

January 13, 2023: A suspected Fentanyl overdose at Acalanes High School in Lafayette was reversed by the emergency application of Narcan during a scary moment on campus Friday, the afflicted student revived and taken to a local hospital for additional treatment. Read more here

Acalanes High School in Lafayette, California.

October 7, 2022: An East Bay mom is raising awareness of a lethal narcotic after addiction impacted her son. Read more here

Corey Sylvester and his mother, Jacqui Berlinn.

October 7, 2022: State health department data show John Muir Health has been imposing an “unconscionable” fee of more than $5,000 for the test since at least 2018, and raising the price every year, the suit claims. The typical cost for the test in an emergency room in the region is $600 to $700, the suit alleges. Read more here

WALNUT CREEK, CA – JULY 22: The John Muir Medical Center is seen along Ygnacio Valley Road in Walnut Creek, Calif., on Wednesday, July 22, 2020. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

August 31, 2022: According to sources, opioid overdoses are increasing every year. In order to acknowledge the people affected by overdoses, whether victim or family members and friends, Moraga Mayor Steve Woehleke’s office issued a proclamation recognizing Aug. 31 as International Overdose Awareness Day during the town council’s Aug. 24 meeting. 

August 23, 2022: A federal judge sentenced a Pittsburg man to more than five years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to distributing fentanyl-laced pills that caused a Walnut Creek woman’s death, authorities said. Gage Pascoe, 23, entered his plea on Feb. 14, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds of the Northern District of California. In the agreement, he admitted to selling his former high school classmate — who was not identified by federal authorities in their announcement — 13 M30 pills on June 16, 2020. Lab tests later confirmed the pills were laced with fentanyl, Hinds said. Pascoe received a 68-month sentence from U.S. District Judge William Alsup. He also must pay restitution to the victim’s family for her funeral costs. Read more here.

Town of Danville Recognizes August 31 as International Overdose Awareness Day.

August 15, 2022: In order to acknowledge the people affected by overdoses, whether victim or family members and friends, Danville Mayor Robert Storer’s office issued a proclamation recognizing August 31 as International Overdose Awareness Day during the town council’s August 15, 2022, meeting. Read more here.

Danville Town Offices building in Danville, California

August 10, 2022: Oakley, Pittsburg and Antioch Ace Hardware stores are offering programs to supply tools and raise awareness for fentanyl and overdose prevention on Friday, Aug. 26. The free Narcan and overdose training will take place at 10 a.m. at Oakley Ace, 3100 Main Street, Oakley; at 1 p.m. at the Antioch Ace, 501 Sunset Drive, Antioch; and at 3 p.m. at the Pittsburg Ave, 125 East Leland Road, Pittsburg. Read more here.

July 20, 2022: Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputies revived a man who was having an overdose at the Martinez Detention Facility Tuesday morning. The man had been arrested by the San Pablo Police Department before being taken to the county jail. Deputies administered two doses of Narcan, which is used to prevent opioid-related overdoses. Read more here

The Martinez Detention Facility in Martinez, California

April 5, 2022: Contra Costa County has opened a new module at the Martinez Detention Facility for inmates with mental illnesses. Read more here

A biophilic designed module for inmates with mental illness at the Martinez Detention Facility. (Photo by CCCSO, via BCN)

December 15, 2021: The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved $75 million in Measure X money for a list of capital projects for Contra Costa Regional Medical Center. Supervisors approved spending $30 million to expand the center’s office complex by 40,000 square feet, $25 million for a new public health lab, $15 million on a new parking structure with 325 additional spaces, and $5 million to expand the hospital’s interventional radiology suite by 5,000 square feet. Read more here.

Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez, a full-service hospital that offers a complete array of patient-centered health care services.

November 19, 2021: In a forceful demonstration of solidarity with striking Kaiser Permanente engineers and outrage over Kaiser’s chronic underfunding of behavioral health care, National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) members including social workers, therapists, and psychologists fanned out to Kaiser hospitals across Northern California for a one-day strike. The rallies were headlined by mental health clinicians, allies including Mental Health America of California President Heidi Strunk, and elected officials including Assemblymember Alex Lee, Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, San Francisco Supervisor Connie Chan, Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Rogers and councilmembers Natalie Rogers, Eddie Alvarez, and Victoria Fleming, Sacramento City Councilmember Katie Valenzuela, Oakland City Councilmembers Carroll Fife and Dan Kalb, and Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioia. Read more here.

NUHW members hold sympathy strike in support of the engineers and march on Kaiser headquarters in Oakland on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Photo: NUHW

October 21, 2021: Growing up in Pittsburg, TAZ looked at Oakland the same way some Black folks in America look at the continent of Africa. Constantly questioning how his life would’ve been if he’d been raised out there. “To me, Oakland was the motherland,” he says as he sits in the passenger seat. Read more here.

Born in Oakland, Infamous TAZ and his family soon moved Pittsburg, part of a two-decade shift in Bay Area demographics. (Pendarvis Harshaw)

October 18, 2021: On Saturday, October 23, 2021, from 10 AM to 2 PM, the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Read more here.

September 17, 2021: Last night, an alert citizen called RPD after seeing a male driver hitting and holding down a female passenger, in the backseat of a car. Based on the Good Samaritan’s detailed information, Officer K. Shanks tracked down the car, being driven in the city’s Northern District, and conducted an enforcement stop to investigate the alleged assault. Read more here.

Concord Father Reflects on 14-Year-Old Daughter Who Died of Fentanyl Overdose.

September 1, 2021: A Bay Area father is grieving after his 14-year-old died from a drug overdose on fentanyl. On International Overdose Awareness Day, many are pausing to reflect on the millions of lives lost to both illegal street drugs and prescription pills that are misused. Read more here.

Concord High School in Concord, California. 

June 18, 2021: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives appears to be taking a special focus on the Sycamore Drive corridor, a section of town that’s been known as the city’s most violent neighborhood for more than a decade. In two recent federal prosecutions charging Antioch residents with illegal gun possession, an ATF agent has included a breakdown of what federal authorities refer to as “Zone 309,” or the Sycamore Drive corridor, which runs between Auto Center Drive and L Street. It is known to police to be “the highest-crime area of Antioch, CA, an area plagued by violent crimes and firearm violence,” Special Agent Richard Timbang wrote in affidavits attached to both cases. Read more here.

Contra Costa County Man Died of Overdose in Isolation Cell After Hospital Visit, Coroner Says. But No One Can Explain How He Got the Fentanyl.

June 7, 2021: A 30-year-old man died last year of a fentanyl overdose while he was inside an isolation cell at the Martinez Detention Facility, where he’d been for the past 16 hours after a visit from the hospital, a forensic pathologist testified at an inquest hearing last week. In the isolation cell where Ezekiel McCoy died of a fentanyl overdose, jail guards check on inmates every 15 minutes and no other human contact is allowed. Read more here.

The Martinez Detention Facility in Martinez, California

Man Behaving Erratically Dies After Violent Confrontation with Antioch Police Officers.

February 24, 2021: A man behaving erratically while in a rideshare ended up dead after a violent confrontation overnight with Antioch police officers, authorities said Wednesday. Read more here.

Feds Shut Down Major Meth, Cocaine, Heroin Distribution Network in Contra Costa County.

February 24, 2021: Thirteen defendants were indicted on narcotics trafficking charges Wednesday in a federal crackdown of a major methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin distribution network in Contra Costa County, federal authorities said. Read more here. Read the press release here

U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson announced in a statement that indictments follow the arrest of five of the defendants on April 30 and the execution of search warrants at thirteen locations, including nine residences in Contra Costa County, Humboldt County, Fairfield, Suisun City and Modesto.

November 4, 2020: An East Contra Costa woman has been arrested and charged with murdering her 2-year-old son, whom authorities say died after he overdosed on fentanyl. Genesis Barrera-Galdamez, 22, was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder of her son, Jasani Kerry, 2, in a Sept. 20 incident. Prosecutors also charged Barrera-Galdamez with possessing narcotics for sale, and child abuse resulting in great bodily injury. Read more here.

Jasani Kerry. PHOTO: GOFUNDME

Owner of Pittsburg Muffler Shop Charged with Drug Trafficking, Feds Link Him to Fatal Overdose.

December 19, 2019: In August, a confidential informant with the Drug Enforcement Administration allegedly met with Jose Ricardo Loza outside of his car repair shop, Delta Muffler, in Pittsburg. Loza was to sell the informant, known in court records only as “CI-1,” a bag of Oxycodone pills, according to federal prosecutors. Read more here.

Pittsburg Boardwalk in Pittsburg, California.

Pittsburg Man, Associate Charged with Selling Fake Oxycodone Pills Laced with Fentanyl.

December 16, 2019:  Jose Ricardo Loza and Randy Lee Walker were charged in a criminal complaint with distributing fentanyl and heroin, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Postal Inspector in Charge Rafael E. Nuñez, United States Postal Inspection Service. Loza and Walker are charged with distribution of controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C). Loza and Walker were arrested on December 12, 2019.  At the time of Loza’s arrest, law enforcement agents found more than 2,000 counterfeit oxycodone pills hidden in hollowed out compartments of his furniture. Read more here.

October 4, 2019: A 26-year-old San Ramon man ingested an eighth of an ounce of cocaine, which caused him to have seizures and a fatal heart attack as he was being booked in the jail last November, officials testified at a Contra Costa County coroner’s inquest hearing Thursday morning. Read more here.

The Martinez Detention Facility in Martinez, California

Opioid Deaths Soar in Contra Costa County, More So Than in Neighboring Counties.

 

August 19, 2019: As many as 81 people in Contra Costa County died from opioids last year — up 56 percent from 52 in 2017 — and authorities fear many of them had obtained the addictive drugs off the streets. Read more here.

August 19, 2019: Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) and County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano issued a health advisory Tuesday regarding the epidemic of prescription opioid abuse, and on the same day the county’s Board of Supervisors proclaimed March as Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month. Read more here.

May 7, 2019: An Antioch man is facing a maximum of 20 years in state prison after federal prosecutors charged him last week with cocaine trafficking, according to court records. Timothy Peoples, 49, was found with around two ounces of cocaine and roughly $10,000 in cash on April 30, when agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration raided his home at the 3600 block of Baywood Circle. Two children, aged 1 and 6 years old, were also at the house, authorities said. A wiretap on Peoples’ phone suggested he was buying cocaine in two-to-four-ounce quantities at a time. Authorities identified two men as uncharged co-conspirators who would deliver the drugs to the home. The men would use “babies” as a code word to describe ounces of cocaine, according to the DEA. Read more here.

March 20, 2019: Contra Costa Health Services issued a health advisory Tuesday regarding opioid overdoses. Nationally, prescription narcotics result in more deadly overdoses than heroin and cocaine combined. And according to health officials, the problem is also out of control locally. Read more here.

Brentwood Health Center in Brentwood, CA

January 10, 2019: Days after his arrest was made public, a high-ranking fire official for the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District was charged with felony embezzlement and drug possession, court records show. Martinez resident Richard P. Stephenson, 50, faces two counts of felony embezzlement and two misdemeanor drug possession charges, alleging he was found with the opiate-based painkiller fentanyl and a sleeping aid, midazolam. Stephenson is the chief of Emergency Medical Services for the district, but was put on administrative leave following his arrest. Read more here.

Station 6 of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District in Concord, California

January 8, 2019: A high-ranking fire official who heads a life-saving unit for the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District is suspected of stealing addictive drugs such as fentanyl from the workplace and selling them, authorities said. Police arrested 50-year-old Richard Stephenson, the district’s Chief of Emergency Medical Services, on Sunday morning on suspicion of possessing a sale quantity of fentanyl, the dangerous opiate-based drug, authorities said. The district immediately placed him on administrative leave and started an internal investigation, district spokesman Steve Hill said. Read more here.

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District

June 22, 2018: Contra Costa County’s civil grand jury is calling for more addiction treatment programs and trained clinicians following a report on how the national opioid crisis is affecting Contra Costa County. What the jurors found was that there were not enough resources in the county to treat people addicted to opioids, there are far more opioids prescribed county-wide than drugs used in treatment and that the opioid epidemic will continue in this county for the next decade. Read more here.

Wakefield Taylor Courthouse in Martinez, California

June 12, 2018: For the second time in a eight days, a Contra Costa inmate was found dead in a jail facility, due to an apparent suicide. On Tuesday, 52-year-old Phillip Andrew Jacobson, of Antioch, was found hanging in a shower at the Martinez Detention Facility. Jacobson was facing eight child molestation charges and being held in lieu of $4.15 million bail, police said. Read more here.

Martinez Detention Facility in Martinez, California

June 4, 2018: A woman in custody at a Contra Costa County jail in Richmond after being convicted last month of the murder of her sister died after a reported suicide early Monday morning, according to the sheriff’s office. Linda Thomas, 74, was from Washington. She was convicted of first-degree murder on May 21 after shooting and killing her sister Zonna Thomas on Oct. 17, 2015. A sheriff’s deputy conducting a routine room check at the West County Detention Facility at 2:48 a.m. saw an inmate hanging from the top bunk of a bed, sheriff’s officials said. Read more here.

West County Detention Facility’s main building in Richmond, California

December 12, 2017: Bay Area Addiction Research and Treatment (BAART) Programs filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court accusing the city of Concord of discriminating against people seeking methadone treatment by blocking a permit for a methadone clinic in Solano Plaza, just west of Highway 242. Read more here.

The BAART medical and methadone treatment center at 1313 Cutting Blvd in Richmond.

December 12, 2017: The planned move of a methadone clinic from its longtime Cutting Boulevard location to San Pablo Dam Road is causing consternation among some El Sobrante Valley residents and business owners. The BAART medical and methadone treatment center has operated at 1313 Cutting Blvd. near Marina Way South for more than 20 years, an official there said this week. It seeks to move to the former Floor Dimension Building at 3563 San Pablo Dam Road just west of El Portal Drive, on part of a thin finger of Richmond land wedged between San Pablo and unincorporated El Sobrante. Read more here.

The BAART medical and methadone treatment center has operated at 1313 Cutting Blvd.

November 10, 2017: Contra Costa County law enforcement agencies are arming police officers with naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of a heroin, fentanyl or prescription opioid overdose. Last year, 1,925 Californians died from an opioid overdose, including more than 300 people in the Bay Area, according to data collected by the California Department of Public Health and reported on the California Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard. There were 51 fatal overdoses in Contra Costa County, and 48 in Alameda County in 2016. Read more here.

Contra Costa Sheriff’s Lt. David Hall places a kit containing the drug naloxone into the trunk of a patrol car. About 130 members of the sheriff’s office have been trained to administer naloxone. (Courtesy of Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office)

April 5, 2017: Along with unused medicines in the home, it’s time to toss antiquated ideas about prescription drug abuse and addiction. That was the message delivered at the third annual Dose of Awareness 5K Walk and Health Expo at Ygnacio Valley Park in Concord. Read more here.

Tambra Divine, of Antioch, releases a white dove-shaped balloon at the conclusion of Third annual “Dose of Awareness” 5K Walk and Health Expo held at Ygnacio Valley Park in Concord, Calif. on Sunday, March 26, 2017. This was a free community educational event concerning prescription drug safety and awareness. About 100 people came to participate in the 5K walk. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

March 9, 2017: A study released by the Contra Costa Health Department on Wednesday shows that alcohol, tobacco and unhealthy foods are being promoted to the county’s youth at alarming rates, especially in poorer cities. The data, which comes courtesy of a statewide survey, shows that 77 percent of stores near county schools sell tobacco products in kid-friendly flavors, like cherry and watermelon. Youth in the county’s lower-income areas, like Richmond and Antioch, are targeted more aggressively and have a larger number of liquor and tobacco shops near schools than do affluent suburbs of Danville and Walnut Creek, the study shows. Read more here.

Fatima Matal Sol of Contra Costa County Health Services talks about how sugary drinks, themselves harmful for young people, can easily be confused for even more harmful alcoholic beverages as displayed in many Bay Area stores. Sam Richards/Staff

November 11, 2016: With Californians now leading the nation in opioid-related deaths, a Bay Area mother and son are courageously putting a face on this terrible addiction. To get the word out, they opened their home and hearts in hopes others can heed their warnings. Read more here.

At age 11, Kent was riding his bike and was hit by a car in the affluent San Ramon Valley. His doctor prescribed the young boy a bottle full of Vicodin, a trade name for the narcotic which combines the opioid hydrocodone with acetaminophen. (Click the photo to watch the video)

October 11, 2016: With the arrival of a mobile health clinic this year, students at Freedom and Liberty high schools now have easier access to medical services, such as physicals and sports clearances, immunizations and reproductive health care, and are taking advantage of the access. The service is an extension of Contra Costa Health Services’ school-based clinics that have been around for the past 20 years. However, the buses have recently come to Freedom on Tuesdays and Liberty High School on Thursdays this year, and the demand for services is up. Read more here.

Kristopher Skinner/Staff The Contra Costa Health Services mobile health clinic makes a stop at Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016.

August 15, 2016: When it comes to drug overdose deaths, Contra Costa County’s biggest killer is not methamphetamine, cocaine or even heroin. This danger comes with a childproof cap. Read more here.

Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez, California

PINOLE: Five Pinole Valley High School Students Hospitalized After Taking Xanax.

October 23, 2015: Days after five students in Marin County were sent to the hospital for overdosing on cough medication, seven students in the East Bay students were suspended from high school for using the prescription drug Xanax, which is used to treat anxiety, according to the school. Read more here.

Pinole Valley High School in Pinole, California

SAN PABLO: End of Line for Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo.

April 22, 2015: The East Bay city of San Pablo no longer has a hospital. On Tuesday, Doctors Medical Center closed its doors to new patients, leaving a large urban area without timely emergency care. The financially strapped medical center, the only public hospital that serves the 250,000 residents between Berkeley and Vallejo, will close its doors after 60 years of providing care. The closure leaves many people in West Contra Costa County struggling to find new doctors and hospitals and hoping not to need emergency services. Read more here.

On the last day full day of operation at Doctors Medical Center, Dr. Desmond Carson shakes his head when he talks about the closure in Emergence Room on Monday April 20, 2015 in San Pablo, Calif. The public hospital has been on the verge of closing for a year and has been loosing money for far longer. Carson said, ” This is holy ground. People have died here. People have been born here. It makes no sense.”
 

November 4, 2014: An 8-year-old girl from Hercules, California, found 0.1 grams of crystal meth – not rock candy – in her trick-or-treating bag. The girl’s father called police about 8:30 a.m. Monday after finding the small plastic baggie filled with a white powdery mixture in the 8-year-old’s sugar-heavy haul from Friday night. An officer tested the substance, which weighed about a tenth of a gram, and it came back positive for methamphetamine, Tafesse said. The girl had been trick-or-treating Friday night in north Hercules’ Promenade neighborhood, an area comprised of fewer than 10 streets. Read More Here.

 

June 2, 2011: The state fined Contra Costa Regional Medical Center $50,000 Thursday for giving the wrong medication to a new mother, causing her to have seizures and go into cardiac arrest. The woman survived after employees at the county-owned hospital in Martinez resuscitated her. Read more here.

Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez, California

March 22, 2011: Diablo magazine’s Pete Crooks learns a lot more than he bargained for when he covered Christopher Butler’s Mom PIs, helping break the case that has shaken law enforcement. Read more here.

 

August 19, 2010: There have been widespread reports of OxyContin abuse, and numerous celebrities have entered rehabilitation to treat their addictions to Vicodin. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), prescription drug abuse increased 400 percent from 1998 to 2008. And almost 14 percent of 18-25-year-olds admitted to abusing prescription drugs in 2008, compared to 1.5 percent in 1998. On the other hand, the incidence of chronic pain is increasing as our life expectancy increases, and many studies show that patients report inadequate pain relief from their doctors. Read more here

Dr. Stephen Daniels practiced family medicine at the Concord and Pittsburg Health Centers (the Pittsburg Health Center is shown above in the image), affiliated with Contra Costa Health Services.

January 20, 2010: Methamphetamine use is rapidly increasing and reaching epidemic proportions in certain parts of the country such as the western United States. The addiction afflicts more than 400,000 people in the country and costs the society more than 20 billion dollars every year. However, little research has been done on effective modes of treatment to change behaviors around this powerful stimulant. There is growing evidence that a new type of treatment, based on motivational counseling, is effective for alcohol and some types of drug addiction, but it has not been studied for methamphetamine dependence. To test how well this new treatment approach that uses Motivation Enhancement Therapy helps people quit using methamphetamine, researchers at the Alcohol Research Group (ARG) in Emeryville, California study more than 200 people who are or have recently been dependent on methamphetamine at an alcohol and drug treatment center in Lafayette, California. Read more here.

The New Leaf Treatment Center in Lafayette, California.

June 20, 2008: The Acalanes Union High School District, known for its high-test scores, beats state averages in two other areas as well: drinking and drug use. The proportion of students in the district who smoke marijuana is slowly rising, and students use marijuana and alcohol at rates higher than the state average, according to a state survey of ninth- and 11th-grade students. Read more here.

A group photo of students from Acalanes High School, Campolindo High School, Las Lomas High School, and Miramonte High School.

September 22, 1997: The son of novelist Danielle Steel died of an accidental drug overdose, a deputy coroner said Sunday. Nicholas John Steel Traina, who headed a punk band, was found dead Saturday morning at a home he shared with several other people in Pleasant Hill, northeast of San Francisco. Read more here.

Nick Traina performing with Link 80.

August 11, 1990: A lethal mixture of morphine and cocaine commonly known as a “speedball” killed Grateful Dead keyboardist Brent Mydland, a coroner reported Friday. The cause of death was “acute cocaine and narcotic intoxication,” said the report released by Richard Rainey, Contra Costa County coroner. Mydland, 37, was found dead in his home in the east San Francisco suburb of Lafayette on July 26. Read more here.

Brent Mydland in 1987. Mydland, 37, was found dead in his home in Lafayette, California, on July 26.