Overdose deaths involving opioids have increased more than eightfold in just over two decades.
And deaths directly attributed to fentanyl overdoses – the high-potency synthetic opioid that is commonly added to counterfeit pills – are on the rise in San Joaquin County.
As a result of the grim development, several San Joaquin County agencies are planning an opioid town hall to help educate the public about the dangers of illicit drugs in the modern age – with opioids killing 69,000 people nationwide in 2020 alone.
On Monday, Oct. 3, the San Joaquin County Office of Education, San Joaquin County Public Health Services, and the San Joaquin County Opioid Safety Coalition will come together to host a town hall meeting about fentanyl and the impacts that is having on the community.
The meeting will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Wentworth Educational Center – located at 2707 Transworld Drive in Stockton – and will be open to the public. Dinner and dessert will be provided to those that attend, and pre-registration is available by visiting www.bit.ly/FentanylTownHall.
While opiate overdoses and deaths have been on the rise for some time, the introduction of fentanyl-laced pills into the equation has caused them to skyrocket. Fentanyl can be as much as 50 times stronger than common street heroin, and not knowing that it is the active ingredient in counterfeit pills modeled after other medications or included in other illicit street drugs can prove deadly.
The crisis has reached the point that the government has relaxed the requirement for possession and distribution of naloxone – a medication that reverses the effects of overdose that potentially saves the life of the person to whom it was administered. Known commonly by its trade name Narcan, the drug is commonly administered in a nasal spray format.
Those that attend the event on Oct. 3 will be eligible to receive a free Narcan kit to have on hand for emergency use.
To contact Bulletin reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.