Tag Archive for: Drug Abuse

Signatures for Ballot Initiative Announced

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said today that Californians for Safer Communities is submitting over 900,000 voter signatures to qualify the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act (Initiative 23-0017A1) to qualify for the November General Election ballot. To qualify the measure for the November 2024 ballot, the law requires 546,651valid signatures.

Today, DA Stephan joined small business owners, as well as diverse community organizations and associations to thank them for their efforts in gathering signatures and marking this milestone of submitting signatures to qualify this initiative for the November ballot.

In February, Stephan was joined by the mayors of 15 cities across San Diego County as well as business leaders, crime victims, parents of children poisoned by fentanyl dealers, and other concerned citizens in an effort to inform the public and boost signature gathering for the initiative. The measure would make communities, businesses, and streets safer and healthier by restoring the rule of law, holding repeat retail thieves and fentanyl dealers better accountable, and incentivizing individuals who are addicted and homeless to accept life-saving treatment.

The mayors of Carlsbad, Vista, San Marcos, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Escondido, Coronado, Chula Vista, National City, Oceanside, Poway, El Cajon, La Mesa, and Santee all supported the signature gathering effort.

“This is a balanced, commonsense initiative that addresses the fentanyl crisis by going after drug dealers who are killing our loved ones and imposes stronger penalties for repeat offenders of organized retail theft, which is hurting far too many families and local businesses,” said DA Stephan. “We need responsible reform that allows judges to incentivize life-saving treatment for those struggling with severe addiction, holds repeat offenders accountable but also gives first, second, and even third chances for those who commit theft or possess hard drugs to be treated for addiction or mental illness. Voters should have the opportunity to debate and weigh in on this important initiative.”

The bipartisan measure is focused on improving safety in every community and neighborhood in California. It focuses narrowly on accountability measures for repeat offenders of theft and drug traffickers of serious drugs like fentanyl, while incentivizing and encouraging more individuals to participate in and complete drug treatment programs. The measure creates a deterrent for repeat offenders and redirects addicts towards treatment rather than incarceration.

Passed in 2014, Prop 47 had a goal of reclassifying several felony offenses as misdemeanors in order to make California’s criminal justice system more equitable. However, it led to unintended consequences of increased homelessness driven by addiction and increased overdose deaths. It also harmed small and large businesses and their employees over the past decade through repeat and often organized retail theft, store closings, and difficulty convincing people to seek drug and mental health treatment. These issues can be corrected by the voters at the ballot box with commonsense changes to Prop 47.

The proposed ballot measure will:

  • Hold those who are committing repeated retail theft and fentanyl sales crimes accountable, for the safety and health of our communities.
  • Create accountability for repeat smash and grab offenders who are driving up costs for all Californians and chasing retailers out of the state.
  • Bring back incentives and accountability that are needed for individuals to get into necessary drug treatment and job training programs — helping them begin new lives. Currently those arrested multiple times for hard drug possession currently have no incentive to choose treatment with no consequences.

For more information, go to www.CASafeCommunities.com.

Fentanyl-Laced Blue Pill

‘Day of Action’ Calls Attention to Alarming Spike in Fentanyl Overdose Deaths

A “Day of Action” will be held in National City on Saturday, August 28 to bring public awareness to the ongoing increase in fentanyl-related overdose deaths across San Diego County, provide community resources on how to save a life and important information on how to avoid becoming an overdose victim. The event will include demonstrations on how to administer Narcan – the medication used to save a person who is overdosing on opioids, including fentanyl. Free doses of Narcan will be available.

In 2019, there were 152 fentanyl-related overdose deaths. Last year, that number spiked to 461. Based on data so far in 2021, experts predict there will be more than 760 overdose deaths.

‘Day of Action’ Calls Attention to Alarming Spike in Fentanyl Overdose Deaths“Our county is experiencing a fentanyl overdose crisis in which teens and adults dying in nearly every zip code,” said District Attorney Summer Stephan. “In spite of the focused outreach and awareness efforts of many of us in the community, opioid overdose deaths have continued to increase over the last two years. We are stepping up our efforts to educate the public on how street drugs, no matter how authentic they look, are often mixed with fentanyl and are behind the alarming spike in deaths. One pill can kill. This is a call to action for our community to become more informed and empowered to save lives.”

The event is being held at the DA’s CARE Center, 12 N. Euclid Avenue in National City from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The day was organized in partnership with the County Health and Human Services Agency, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and many other community organizations.

“The NAACP San Diego branch is happy to partner in this harm reduction activity,” said Francine Maxwell, president of the San Diego Chapter of the NAACP. “Harm Reduction is the best prevention to empower our community. The mission of the NAACP San Diego branch is to always collaborate before we challenge the status quo. We thank the District Attorney for her responsive action and leadership and to all the partners participating in this event.”

In addition to free Narcan, the Day of Action will feature informational booths and resources on housing, education, mentorship, health and behavioral services. Speakers will include DA Summer Stephan; Francine Maxwell, President of the San Diego Chapter of the NAACP; Dr. Nicole Esposito, Assistant Medical Director of County Behavioral Health Services; and DEA Special Agent Rocky Herron.

For more information on the dangers of opioids, watch this video.