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Chair Nathan Fletcher, and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, today declared Illicit fentanyl a public health crisis; it an effort that builds on the actions Chair Fletcher initiated to expand the County’s commitment to harm reduction best practices, and to proactively develop a comprehensive strategy to use $100 million expected from settling a lawsuit with opioid manufacturers.

During this year’s State of San Diego County Address, Chair Fletcher shared the Nava family’s devastating loss of their son to an overdose, and he outlined various ways the County can start to do more to help families address addiction.   

“The lives we have lost to fentanyl and opioid overdoses are precious, and as a County we are increasing our commitment through measures like the one we passed today, and those we have already activated,” said Chair Fletcher. “We want people to know the dangers, understand the warning signs, and have the resources available to prevent more deaths. This latest effort will build upon the work that is already underway.” 

The fentanyl policy introduced by Supervisors Terra Lawson-Remer and Jim Desmond , along with District Attorney Summer Stephan, can be read in its entirety by clicking here

In early 2021, Chair Fletcher received support from a majority of his colleagues, to give the Behavioral Health Services team more authority to implement industry best practices to help San Diegans manage their addiction to opioids and other debilitating substances. In May of 2021, County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten signed a Naloxone Standing Order to allow: 1.) Community organizations to distribute without a prescription to any person at risk of an overdose or to a family member, friend, or other person able to assist; and 2.) The administration of naloxone to a person suspected of experiencing an overdose by a family member, friend or bystander. And in December Chair Fletcher and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 5 to 0 to move forward several harm reduction drug treatment projects being undertaken by the County’s Public and Behavioral Health Services. 

Signs of an Overdose

To determine if someone you know has overdosed on opioids, fentanyl or other drugs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says to look for these signs:

  •  Small, constricted “pinpoint pupils”

  • Falling asleep or loss of consciousness

  • Slow, shallow breathing

  • Choking or gurgling sounds

  • Limp body

  • Pale, blue or cold skin

 

Get help for Addiction

The County has inpatient and outpatient treatment services available throughout the region that can help San Diegans with substance use disorders. People seeking help should call the San Diego County Access and Crisis Line 888-724-7240 or 2-1-1 San Diego. Both resources are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.