The town of Colusa has had several names (Colusi, Colusi’s, Koru, and Salmon Bend) before being incorporated as Colusa in 1868. The name originates from the local Coru Indian tribe that lived on the west side of the Sacramento River up to the mid-1800s.

In 1850, Charles D. Semple purchased the Rancho Colus Mexican land grant on which Colusa was founded and called the place Salmon Bend. The town was founded by Semple under the name Colusi in 1850. The first post office was established the following year, 1851. The California legislature changed the town’s (and the county’s) name to Colusa in 1854. The town flourished due to its location on the Southern Pacific Railroad. Several travelers rest stops were established at various road distances from Colusa, including Five Mile House, Seven Mile House, Nine Mile House, Ten Mile House, Eleven Mile House, Fourteen Mile House (also called Sterling Ranch), Sixteen Mile House (at the current location of Princeton), and Seventeen Mile House. The original settlement of what became Colusa was originally placed at the site of Seven Mile House but subsequently removed to its current site in 1850.

Colusa is the county seat of Colusa County, California and has a population of just under six thousand. Interstate 5 offers a north/south route through the county, which is centrally located north of Sacramento. It is two and a half hours from Lake Tahoe, one hour from downtown Sacramento, three hours from the Fort Bragg-Mendocino coastline and two hours from San Francisco.

The economy is based on agriculture and agricultural-related businesses. Travelling throughout the basin floor, one can see a variety of crops including: fruits (pears, melons, plums, tomatoes and wine grapes); vegetables (beans, corn, pumpkins and onions); nuts (almonds, walnuts and pistachios) as well as alfalfa, cotton, rice, safflower, wheat and sunflowers.

The country roads are lined with various waterways, natural and man-made, where an abundance of wildlife can be seen, including foxes, deer, raccoons, and possums, as well as birdlife such as herons, cranes, ducks, geese, hawks, pheasants and swans.

Colusa County was established in 1850 as one of the original 27 counties created by the first California state legislature. According to the Colusa town council, “Our mission as the City of Colusa is to provide and maintain a progressive, family-oriented, safe community. This will be accomplished through positive, responsible leadership; economic and social opportunities, and planned growth for everyone while maintaining an attractive environment.”

The Recreation Department maintains an aquatics complex, softball facility, and ten parks within the City of Colusa, as well as organizing various city-wide recreational activities that are offered on a year-round basis to city and county residents.

Drug Abuse in Colusa County

Colusa County falls within the Northern California High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. A wave of drug abuse beginning with prescription painkillers (the opioid epidemic) led to increasing levels of heroin abuse as users sought a more accessible, better and cheaper high. Abusers were also seeking a way to circumvent the restrictions placed on prescriptions. While victories in the passing of laws and resolutions to prevent doctor shopping have made it much harder for abusers to obtain illicit prescriptions for opioid pain relievers, addicts once hooked are not so easily dissuaded: the unforeseen consequence of the crackdown has been a widespread rise in heroin abuse. Heroin, which had fallen out of the limelight in recent years after featuring heavily in headlines for decades, has made a comeback as a now cheaper and more easily obtainable cousin in the opioid family. If that weren’t bad enough, users desperate for a fix have begun turning to fentanyl.  In March 2016, a rash of fentanyl caused six deaths and 22 overdoses in Sacramento County, California in less than a week.

Fentanyl, which looks like heroin, is a powerful synthetic painkiller that has been laced with heroin but is increasingly being sold by itself – often without the user’s knowledge. It is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin and up to 100 times more potent than morphine. A tiny bit can be fatal.

Fentanyl has been used since the 1960s in medical settings to treat extreme pain, more recently as a patch or lozenge. In recent decades, illicit fentanyl has seeped into the United States from Mexico. Cartels have figured out a way to make fentanyl more cheaply and easily than heroin and are manufacturing it at a record pace.

There is a way out of the spiral that is substance abuse, whether it started with prescription painkillers, or whether it’s a long-term alcohol problem. Colusa offers several choices of rehabilitation services, so one can find the best fit for one’s self or a loved one who is struggling. Consultants can help to make the best choice from the range available, and find a way back to hope.

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