SAN DIEGO — Mayor Todd Gloria announced Thursday, November 10, that he's issuing an executive order this month to deal with the growing fentanyl crisis in San Diego.
He made the announcement during a joint news conference with several local law enforcement officials including the Drug Enforcement Agency, the U.S. Attorney's Office, San Diego Police Department, San Diego Sheriff's Department, and San Diego Fire Rescue.
"We will not make or accept excuses for letting this crisis grow out of control," said Mayor Gloria. "We’re going to own this and make sure we’re tackling it at every level, local, state, and federal."
Mayor Gloria said the executive order will direct city staff to prioritize his administration's response to the crisis, giving law enforcement the city's full support and developing new policies that can further enhance the city's response.
According to the mayor, in 2021 there were 812 fentanyl-related overdose deaths in San Diego County. He said the county surpassed that number in just the first six months of 2022.
He said dealers are targeting the homeless population.
"This death toll is especially high among the homeless population, which last year saw 113 lives claimed by fentanyl overdoses. Five years ago that number was two," he said.
Mayor Gloria said the city will dedicate more resources to street-level enforcement and investigation.
"The message is simple. Fentanyl kills. It is everywhere. You don’t know what you're getting. You hope what may be an experiment, may cost you your life," said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman.
"If you do not have that hard conversation with your children and discuss the importance of 'one pill can kill,' it may be the last conversation you never were able to have with your child, it is that important," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Shelly Howe.
"I just sat down with a mother yesterday for two hours that lost her son from taking half of a pill. She's beating herself up," said Howe. "[He had] no prior drug use. It was half a pill to help her son with anxiety. She had appointments scheduled to get it from a psychiatrist, but he wanted to self-medicate. Half a pill and he is gone."
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