‘This is the new pandemic’: Fentanyl warning as overdose deaths rise in Fresno County

Fresno, Calif. (KFSN) – Opioid problems in the Central Valley, particularly among adolescents, have recently drawn attention to overdoses.

And recently, fentanyl has taken center stage.

As cases of coronavirus infections decline, Dr Rais Vohra, Fresno County director of health, is examining a growing problem that could be exacerbated by a pandemic.

“The biggest threat to Fresno County’s health is no longer COVID,” he said. “Use of substances. “

Dr Vola says the new pandemic is a drug and the issue deserves the same level of community response.

Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smitcamp said everyone needs to be careful.

Don’t say “it doesn’t happen to me, it doesn’t happen to my family, it doesn’t happen to my children,” she said.

Drug overdoses have increased dramatically in recent years, from 123 in 2018 to 146 in 2019 and 240 in 2020.

Methamphetamine is the biggest drug overdose involved in more than half of deaths.

However, fentanyl quickly fell from two causes of death in 2018 to 15 in 2019 and 35 last year.

And, as Sheriff John Zanoni says, these numbers are more than just statistics.

“It’s someone’s daughter, someone’s son, someone’s father, someone’s uncle, someone’s grandparents,” Zanoni said. “They are people.”

The purpose of Friday’s press conference was to raise awareness and prevent children from taking the types of tablets that are now readily available.

Opioid tablets prescribed by pharmacists are often manufactured in tablet factories in China, according to Smittcamp.

The DEA says fentanyl could have been a purer pill for $ 20 a few years ago because the drug cartels are cheaper to travel, but now it’s possible to sell running pills for $ 5. I will do it.

And although few teens have died from overdoses, county behavioral health director Dawan Utec said it was important to focus on them.

She says teens and teens are at an age where they haven’t developed the tools and resilience to deal with the effects on the brain and body.

“If we can influence these early stages, we have the best chance of avoiding addiction for life,” Utec said.

As a result, law enforcement, education and public health officials say they are desperate to stop using opioids before they start and give children who are already taking them a chance to stop using opioids before they start. Stop.

Jim Yobino, a school principal in Fresno County, spoke at length about involving people in this effort and shared his perspective on a small note.

It only contained one exclamation mark: “HELP!

The Yovino County School Board has several websites. All4Youth is not yet ready. Help Me Glow —— Prepare resources for parents and other students to intervene.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All copyrights are held.

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