On Wednesday, June 9th, I held a Virtual Town Hall, with District Attorney Summer Stephan titled, "What Every Parent Should Know About Fentanyl." It was illuminating and I encourage every parent to watch/listen to the meeting and share it with their friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
As summer approaches and teens have more free time, it’s imperative that parents have the facts and knowledge to talk to their kids about the dangers of fentanyl. If you missed the town hall or would like to go back and watch it, we have the recording below. Also, we have an audio version on our podcast.
I wanted to highlight some of the most pertinent information I learned during the meeting for parents and kids when it comes to fentanyl.
Last year, the leading cause of death in the United States for 18-45-year-olds was fentanyl. Fentanyl overdose deaths in 2021 exceeded 800 in San Diego County and will continue to grow in 2022 unless there is greater awareness and stronger policies in place.
Last year, I led the effort to direct the County to work with the educational community, and other stakeholders to develop a substance use prevention campaign, that focuses on fentanyl awareness. This effort is ongoing and is just the start. It's going to take the entire community coming together and letting our youth know that one pill, can kill.
James Fontaine is the Division Chief for the Major Narcotics Division at the San Diego District Attorney's office. He sees daily, the impact fentanyl is having on our community. He put these slides together about the five tools to use when discussing fentanyl.
As the previous slides show, there is a new kind of drug dealer and it's on the phone. Kids are getting drugs through social media channels like Snapchat, Telegram, and other platforms, in a manner of minutes. Below are some of the ways kids are communicating and what each emoji mean.
Also, Fox 5 put together a nice recap about the meeting, which you can watch here.
I want to thank everyone who attended the meeting and all of our speakers who were able to share their insight. District Attorney Summer Stephan, San Diego County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Steve Campman, Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Gordon, Emergency Care Physician Dr. Roneet Lev, and Outreach Director for U.S. Attorney, Cindy Cipriani all were part of this important presentation.
Also, I want to give a special thanks to the parents of Connor White, Laura Binker-White & Matt White. Connor White was a stand-out athlete and a 4.0 GPA student. Last year, during finals week, Connor took a Percocet he got from a "friend" which ended up being laced with fentanyl, and tragically passed away.