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.
“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.