It’s no secret that opioids are killing Americans at an alarming rate, specifically fentanyl. In 2021, more than 900 San Deigns died from opioid-related accidental overdoses, a 54% increase from the previous year.
I have made fentanyl awareness and education a top priority. We’ve declared it a crisis, funded education efforts targeting young people, held an elected official roundtable discussion – where elected leaders, from school boards to Congress, attended. And, we hosted a parent fentanyl education event.
As you may have heard, at our last Board of Supervisors meeting, I made a push to make it mandatory for kids in school to be educated about the deadly effects of fentanyl. The item unanimously passed, but one major barrier was funding. I’m pleased to say today we took another major step towards protecting our kids.
In response to opioids killing people throughout our country, several jurisdictions including the County of San Diego brought forward litigation to remediate the opioid addictions and harm. We are expected to receive tens of millions of dollars as part of the settlement, which will go towards our local opioid crisis.
Today, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a framework for the allocation of these funds, including my effort to require fentanyl awareness education in San Diego County classrooms. We cannot wait any longer, young people are tragically dying from fentanyl and we need to do all we can to protect San Diegans. This funding will expedite this process and hopefully save more lives.