Fentanyl is the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 18 and 45 – nothing else comes close. In San Diego, overdose deaths from fentanyl start at around age 14. It is also being sold on social media as counterfeit pills made to look exactly like OxyContin, Percocet, Xanax and Adderall, but contain fentanyl or other harmful drugs. It can take as little as 2 mg of fentanyl to cause an overdose and death in most people. To help raise awareness and educate the Spanish-speaking community about this deadly drug, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan is joining Mano a Mano Foundation’s Dr. Beatriz Villarreal in a free community event completely in Spanish on August 12, 2022, “Fentanyl: The Poison of Today” (Fentanilo: El Veneno de Hoy).
“We are honored to join Dr. Villarreal and Mano a Mano to bring awareness and resources to the deadly threat of illicit fentanyl on our children, adults and families,” said DA Summer Stephan. “Fentanyl overdoses are killing our children as young as 14 years old, because it is being sold on the streets and on social media often disguised in pills that look identical to pharmaceutical pills. We want our community to know that if you get anything from some place other than your doctor or pharmacy, it is likely laced with fentanyl: The Poison of Today.”
San Diego County had over 800 fentanyl-caused deaths in 2021 – this is up significantly from the 462 fentanyl-caused deaths in 2020 and the 152 fentanyl-caused deaths the year before that. Between 2020 and 2021, the District Attorney’s Office charged 57 defendants with 52 counts of felony child endangerment, involving fentanyl. In that same time period, 13 children between the ages of 4 months and 7 years actually tested positive for fentanyl, some of whom would have died had it not been for the quick response and administration of naloxone by first responders.
“You cannot smell or taste fentanyl,” said Dr. Villarreal from Mano a Mano Foundation, who is organizing this event. “You cannot know if there is fentanyl in pills by just looking at them. The amount of fentanyl can vary between pills, even if they are from the same batch. One pill alone can kill because you do not know if that pill was made illegally with fentanyl. We urge parents and families to learn more about this deadly drug to help us prevent more deaths.”
The event will include powerful testimony from a father who lost his son to fentanyl and there will be community resources, including the distribution of Narcan which helps reverse an overdose and a training demonstration on how to use it. Other community organizations that will be available include the Chula Vista Police Department, Alanon, Alcoholics Anonymous, Community Clinics, Amigas Punto Com, and Neurotics Anonymous.
The event is on Friday, August 12, 2022 at 6:30pm at the Bonita Valley Community Church located at 4744 Bonita Rd., Bonita, CA, 91902. Childcare will be provided for children between 5 and 10 years old. The event is completely free and in Spanish, and anyone interested in attending must register here: https://mamf.org/es/talleres/fentanilo-el-veneno-de-hoy/.