Breaking News
More () »

Recovery advocates send another warning about the dangers of the drug fentanyl

Those who treat opioid addiction say it's important to address the addiction medically and mentally if we want to keep people alive

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego County says it saw over a 200% increase in fentanyl overdose deaths just last year and now a San Diego recovery center says more than have of its new clients in 2021 are still struggling with opioid addiction.

Those who treat opioid addiction say they can’t emphasize enough how important it is to address the addiction medically and mentally if we want to keep people from using powerful, deadly drugs like fentanyl.

In May of this year, San Diego County health officials allowed community organizations to have access to the life-saving drug Narcan at no cost. Now drug rehabilitation advocates are sending another warning about how dangerous synthetic opioids can be.

“We’ve seen first, the deaths related to pain pills. Then we saw heroin and now this is kind of a third phase, which is even more potent from a chemical standpoint, a stronger chemical," said Tessa Voss, Betty Ford Center Executive Director.  

Health officials predict that about 700 people will die from a fentanyl overdose in 2021 in San Diego County. Since July, the George Bailey Detention Center in San Diego has reported at least eight fentanyl overdose cases, with one person dying. Shoreline Recovery Center says right now, about 55% of their clients have opioid use disorders.

“Working with the families has been really difficult for clients who come in the aftermath of an overdose, when they’ve had to be Narcan-ed two to three times,” said Kate Judd, Program Director at the Shoreline Recovery Center in San Diego. 

The CDC reports that over 93,000 people in the U.S. died from a drug overdose in 2020, with opioid deaths increasing by nearly 19,000 from 2019. Judd said the data shows how deadly fentanyl continues to be and recovery should be a priority when it comes to saving lives.

“If they can get hooked up with the right resources, which any good treatment center will do even if it’s not their treatment center. There is hope available, but it is a journey and it is a commitment,” Judd said. 

You can find more information here: Shoreline Recovery Center or the latest information from the CDC about the opioid crisis.

WATCH RELATED: Officials warn of spike in San Diego County fentanyl-related overdose deaths - June 2021


Before You Leave, Check This Out