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Addressing the Fentanyl crisis

An update on efforts to protect region from fentanyl

From the San Diego Sheriff's Dept.

Sheriff Kelly Martinez and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department remain steadfast in their commitment to protect our communities from the dangers of fentanyl.

Sheriff Martinez joined local, state and federal leaders for a roundtable discussion on the fentanyl crisis, Oct 18. We are thankful for the partnership we share in addressing issues that affect the safety and well-being of the communities we serve.

The Sheriff's Department is taking a multi-pronged approach through enforcement, harm reduction and education to combat this deadly crisis.

This year, the Sheriff's Department was awarded a combined $1.5 million from the State of California and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to support our fentanyl investigations. This allows us to target larger drug trafficking organizations to reduce the amount of fentanyl from reaching the streets.

So far in 2023, our Sheriff's Narcotics Division has taken more than four million fentanyl pills off San Diego County streets in partnership with our task force efforts such as the Border Crimes Suppression Team (BCST), High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) and the Fentanyl Abatement and Suppression Team (FAST).

This is all in addition to our ongoing efforts to find and arrest those responsible for bringing illicit fentanyl into our region.

Since December 2022, the Sheriff's Department has distributed nearly 1,600 Harm Reduction Kits (HRK) across San Diego County. The kits consist of a box of the lifesaving medication Naloxone containing two doses of nasal spray. Brochures in English and Spanish provide instructions on how to use Naloxone.

This program gives deputies the ability to proactively educate individuals at outreach events and service calls. The goal: preventing overdose deaths caused by fentanyl and other opioids.

The Sheriff's Department also continues to ramp up efforts to keep fentanyl and other dangerous drugs out of county jails.

The Sheriff's Detentions Investigations Unit (DIU) is playing a key role in uncovering drugs before they get inside our detention facilities.

The Sheriff's Narcotics and Contraband Interdiction Unit is composed of specially trained deputies who are stationed in the booking areas of our jails. They use basic and more sophisticated investigative techniques during the intake process to detect contraband and keep it out of county jails.

We have purchased new body scanners to screen people coming into our custody. These scanners are more accurate in identifying drugs hidden on or in the bodies of people being booked.

The Sheriff's Department has also expanded the Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Program. We can better help people in our facilities through treatment programs that work with medication and counseling to reduce addiction. When someone is released, they are provided resources for continuing care in the community.

Naloxone has been placed inside all our detention facilities and is available to individuals who are in our custody. This harm reduction measure has saved lives and reversed the effects of overdoses in jail.

The Sheriff's Department will pursue prosecution for anyone possessing or trafficking drugs into county jails.

Sheriff Martinez thanks Mayor Todd Gloria and Chairwoman Nora Vargas, as well as our partners at the local, state and federal level for their collaborative approach to addressing the fentanyl crisis.

Sheriff Martinez and the Sheriff's Department will continue to build on our enforcement, education, and prevention efforts. We look forward to continued collaboration with our legislative partners to assist us in the fight against fentanyl.

We want to thank California Attorney General Rob Bonta and Assemblymember Brian Maienschein for their participation and commitment to this effort.

For those struggling with substance abuse, you are not alone. We understand that quitting is not easy or straightforward. Help is available by calling 9-8-8. You can also contact the County Crisis Hotline for confidential treatment programs and resources at 888-724-7240.


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