Fentanyl is now the most deadly drug circulating on the illegal drug market. According to the California Department of Public Health, statewide fentanyl deaths increased from 239 deaths in 2016 to 3,946 in 2020, or 1,551%. In California, 71% of all opioid-related deaths in 2020 were a result of fentanyl poisoning. Synthetic opioids like fentanyl account for two-thirds of the 105,000 nationwide drug-related deaths that occurred between October 2020 and October 2021.
Many of my colleagues and I are rapidly closing all policy loopholes in addressing the crisis to ensure our public safety entities have every tool they need to fight this epidemic.
Fentanyl Poisoning Prevention ActAssembly Bill 1027: Requires social media companies to keep a record of communications between platform users for a minimum of seven days. For social media companies that do not comply, this bill makes them liable for a civil penalty up to $250,000. This will offer important assistance to law enforcement to combat this epidemic. Additionally, the bill would hold social media companies financially liable if a child overdoses on fentanyl purchased on their platform.
Fentanyl: Criminal Enhancements Assembly Bill 955: Existing law makes possession of a controlled substance for the purposes of sale of the substance punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of 2, 3, or 4 years. AB 955 would increase those penalties by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of 3, 6, or 9 years. Applying greater criminal enhancements to those convicted of online fentanyl distribution will send a strong message to those who flaunt the law by exploiting social media platform policies that obscure their criminal activities.
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— Choose Issue: Ending Fentanyl Poisoning —
WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK SOMEONE IS OVERDOSING
It may be hard to tell whether a person is high or experiencing an overdose. If you aren’t sure, it’s best to treat the situation like an overdose—you could save a life.
- Call 911 Administer immediately.*
- Administer naloxone,** if available.
- Try to keep the person awake and breathing.
- Lay the person on their side to prevent choking.
- Stay with them until emergency workers arrive.
* Most states have laws that may protect a person who is overdosing or the person who called for help from legal trouble.
** Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can reverse the effects of opioid overdose and save lives. It is available in all 50 states and can be purchased from a local pharmacy without a prescription in most states.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It is a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the U.S.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50x stronger than heroin and 100x stronger than morphine.
There are two types of fentanyl: pharmaceutical fentanyl and illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Both are considered synthetic opioids. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is prescribed by doctors to treat severe pain, especially after surgery and for advanced-stage cancer. However, most recent cases of fentanyl- related overdose are linked to illicitly manufactured fentanyl, which is distributed through illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effect. It is often added to other drugs because of its extreme potency, which makes drugs cheaper, more powerful, more addictive, and more dangerous.
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