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Cottage Health discusses early warning signs of opioid addiction

Cottage Health

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Opioid addiction is rising at an alarming rate here in Santa Barbara County.
And residents are seeing it in their daily lives.

“I am not surprised it’s increasing it seems like the pandemic has put so much stress on people,” said Steven Fiala of Santa Barbara.

So are doctors at Cottage Health.

“The most concerning issue currently with opioid addiction is that fentanyl is everywhere and individuals are being exposed to fentanyl many times when they don’t know that they’re being exposed to fentanyl. and it’s a deadly opioid," said medical director for psychiatry and addiction medicine Dr. Paul Erickson of Cottage Health.

It's so deadly, in Santa Barbara County, there were over 133 overdose deaths between January 2021 and January 2022, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office report.

“Young people have always experimented with drugs but experimenting with drugs now is much more dangerous than it used to be so it’s very important that individuals know they can accidentally die from taking too much fentanyl," said Erickson.

Erickson says opioid use disorder is a medical illness that can happen to anyone.

But Treatments are available.

“The public health measures that are being taken now to help including fentanyl test strips so they can test the drugs that they’re about to take," said Erickson.

There is also a broader distribution of naloxone NARCAN, a reversal agent for overdose. 

“There are resources at Santa Barbara County Behavioral Wellness and agencies in the community including the Bridge Clinic," said Erickson.

“I care for people so I’m concerned that everybody has a healthy happy life and I’d like to see people heal from that," said Fiala.

If someone you know is struggling with opioids, you may consider learning how to use NARCAN and having it readily available.

For more information about Cottage Residential Center, call 805-569-7422, or visit

Article Topic Follows: Lifestyle
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Patricia Martellotti

Patricia Martellotti is a reporter for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Patricia, click here.


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