Breaking News
More () »

New plan to tackle the opioid crisis in San Diego County

The county expects to receive more than $100 million from opioid lawsuit settlements to fund the plan.

SAN DIEGO — Local county supervisors have unveiled a new plan to tackle the opioid crisis in San Diego County.

Nationwide drug overdose deaths have surged year after year. More than 900 San Diegans lost their lives last year.

San Diego County plans to fund new efforts to address the crisis with funds from opioid lawsuit settlements. The county expects to receive more than $100 million and start receiving some money by the end of this year.

"My district is most impacted by this. You've heard rural and tribal communities are at the tip of the iceberg," said Supervisor Joel Anderson. 

Supervisor Anderson and Chair Nathan Fletcher are working together. The plan includes sending wellness advocates to hospitals to meet someone who has overdosed.

"The moment someone has survived an overdose you may have the best opportunity you'll ever get to engage them and talk to them about treatment," Fletcher said.

The county would also launch a drug disposal program.

"We can mail every household in San Diego a drug disposal bag. You open the bag, pour whatever pharmaceutical drugs you have, add some water and throw it in the trash. A moment where we could clean the shelves throughout San Diego county," he said. 

There is also a major focus on local schools. Students will learn about prevention and more Narcan will be distributed to local campuses.

"We did have a situation with an unresponsive student that we're grateful turned out okay," said Susan Barndollar, the executive director of nursing and wellness at San Diego Unified. 

The district has had Narcan protocols and drug education in place for years. It plans to act as a model for other districts.

"It's really important for every parent to understand that fentanyl can be in any street drug," said William Perno, the senior prevention specialist for Social Advocates for Youth. The organization offers free services and can train people on how to use Narcan.

Perno said California has a Good Samaritan Law that gives some protection from arrest, charge and prosecution for those who call 911 at the scene of a suspected drug overdose. 

On Monday, $500,000 worth of fentanyl was seized by San Diego border patrol agents near Barstow.

The Board of Supervisors will be asked to approve this plan next Tuesday.

WATCH RELATED: State seizes 4 million pills and 860 pounds of Fentanyl powder since April 2021 (October 2022)

Before You Leave, Check This Out