The mission of the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department (SCCPHD) is to protect and improve the health and well-being of our community. The Department's work centers on eliminating the root causes of unequal health outcomes by prioritizing racial and health equity, building a diverse and engaging public health workforce, advancing policy, supporting community partners, and investing in state-of-the-art technology.
SCCPHD serves a large and diverse population of nearly 1.9 million people. Asians represent the largest racial/ethnic group (39%), followed by Whites (28%), Latino/a (25%), and African Americans (2.3%). Though the county has high median household incomes, SCC has some of the highest income disparities in the nation and the cost of living is well beyond what people can afford. Approximately 7% of residents live at or below the federal poverty level, with the City of San Jose ranking sixth in the nation for income inequality. Considering the Self-Sufficiency Standard, which accounts for regional cost of living, 59% and 44% of Latino/a and African Americans, respectively, struggled financially to meet their needs. The 2022 County of Santa Clara Point-in-Time Report on Homelessness identified over 10,000 people experiencing homelessness – a 3% increase from 2019.
In the last several years, opioid-related overdose deaths have more than quadrupled, from 60 deaths in 2018 to nearly 159 in 2022. This does not take into consideration those associated with stimulant use, such as methamphetamine or combined methamphetamine and opioid overdose, which add an additional 189 deaths in 2022. The increase in deaths over the last several years has been driven by fentanyl-related overdose, which account for nearly 8 in 10 deaths and have increased eight-fold since 2019. Rates for opioid and fentanyl deaths are highest among young adults aged 18-24, males, and African Americans. Patterns for stimulants such as methamphetamine and polysubstance overdose deaths reflected similar trends – with increases over the last few years and a disproportionate impact among males and people of color.
The SCCPHD proposal focuses on the following key strategies for Component A:
Linkage to and Retention in Care:SCCPHD will expand internal capacity while collaborating with County agency and community-based partners to provide comprehensive linkage to care for individuals identified as having Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) or Stimulant Use Disorder (StUD). Linkage resources will be supported in Custody Health Settings, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), community settings such as shelters and encampments, and emergency rooms at the County’s three public hospitals. Additional support will be provided via mobile units, a referral process, and online resource navigation.
Harm Reduction:The SCCPHD approach to harm reduction will provide agency to PWUD through a spectrum of client-centered programming designed to reduce negative consequences associated with drug use.¿ Current programming and proposed strategies are rooted in respect for the rights of PWUD and in meeting clients where they are.
Stigma Reduction: SCCPHD will focus on humanizing experiences of substance use disorder and recovery through messaging, training for healthcare and public safety staff, and social marketing campaigns.
Clinician and Health System Best Practices:By working in collaboration with the County’s health system, clinical partners, and other subject-matter experts, SCCPHD proposes to provide clinical training opportunities via grand rounds, virtual seminars, and facilitation of a healthcare providers working group dedicated to supporting clinical best practices in various settings.
Surveillance Infrastructure: SCCPHD proposes developing a comprehensive surveillance plan intended to thoroughly track and monitor trends, serve as an early warning system for “spikes” or changing circumstances, and to inform programs and services provided by SCCPHD and partners.