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The number of fentanyl-related overdoses in San Joaquin County rose more than 20-fold from 2018 through 2021.
And San Joaquin County Public Health Services is taking a big step towards reducing the number of deaths that come as a result of overdosing on opioids.
The San Joaquin County agency is now providing free naloxone nasal spray – a drug commonly known by the trade Narcan that can be used to reverse the effects of opiate overdose and prevent death in those that have ingested a fatal quantity – to anybody that is concerned about family or friends that may be at risk of opiate overdose.
“This sharp rise in opioid-related deaths demonstrates a strong need for increased supplies of naloxone in the community,” San Joaquin County Public Health Officer Dr. Maggie Park said in a statement announcing the program. “This community program – coupled with substance-use treatment resources provided by the Opioid Safety Coalition – offers families and friends a way to help prevent overdoses and the loss of loved ones.”
While naloxone has commonly been used by law enforcement agencies and first responders that are often dispatched to overdose calls, the move to provide the life-saving medication to the general public is in line with a growing trend that has alarmed drug experts and law enforcements alike – the introduction and proliferation of counterfeit opiate pills that often contain an indeterminant amount of fentanyl.
Illegally-manufactured fentanyl – which has popped up in other illicit street drugs as well – is as much as 50 times more potent than heroin and is most commonly found in what are stamped to be 30mg oxycodone pills.
Typically blue in color and stamped with an “M” for Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals – the legitimate manufacturer of the pills being counterfeited – on one side and a “30” for what is supposed to be the amount of oxycodone the pill contains on the other side, the pills have become the focal point of a campaign by the Drug Enforcement Administration to warm the public about the dangers of buying medications on the street.
Other pills that have been found to contain fentanyl in fatal doses include counterfeit alprazolam pills – known commercially as Xanax – and other pills in the same drug class while amphetamine pills like Adderall, Concerta, and Ritalin have been found to contain quantities of methamphetamine instead of the pharmaceutical substances they’re supposed to contain.
In 2021, the DEA seized enough illegal fentanyl from American streets to overdose every single American in the country.
According to San Joaquin County Public Health Services, there was less than one fentanyl overdose per 100,000 residents in the second quarter of 2019, and that number rose to 8.35-per-100,000 residents within two years.
Anybody looking to obtain the free and easy-to-use naloxone spray can stop by the Public Health Services facility at 420 S. Wilson Way in Stockton on Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Additional information about the program or other related programs can be obtained by visiting www.sjcopioidsafety.org or by calling 209.953.7309.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544.
SJ County offering free naloxone spray to combat OD deaths – Manteca Bulletin