The Harbor student housing complex at Orange Coast College hosted a workshop titled ‘Drugs Education and Awareness Event’, in partnership with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and OCC Sécurité publique, March 9.
Brian Gunsolley, an OC Sheriff Lt. who works in public affairs and community engagement to provide drug prevention education in schools, warned residents of the dangers of drugs containing fentanyl.
“Fentanyl is added to other drugs,” Gunsolley said. “Dealers are cutting back to increase their profits.”
In addition, fentanyl makes other drugs much more addictive, which in turn builds customer loyalty.
OC Crime Lab reported a 101% increase in all drugs tested containing fentanyl. In 2019 alone, the OC Sheriff’s Department confiscated enough fentanyl to kill the entire population of California and Oregon, according to the submission.
APLA Health, a non-profit organization that seeks to achieve equality in health care, offers fentanyl test strips at several locations around LA County that can be used to detect the presence of fentanyl in other drugs. The closest location to the OCC is their Long Beach Health Center, located at 1043 Elm Ave, Suit 302, Long Beach 90813. Their number is 562-247-7740.
More information can be found at reduce the risk of overdose here. OC’s social services agency also offers more resources for addiction here.
According to Gunsolley, street drugs that have been found cut with fentanyl include heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and squeezed pills that look a lot like pills like Norco, Percocet, and Xanax bought at a drugstore. It is very dangerous due to the low level of toxicity of fentanyl – two milligrams are lethal, which is 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin.
This makes street drug use a simple gamble for many people, as they don’t know how much fentanyl (if any) is in the drugs they use.
Gunsolley recommended that residents with friends or roommates who use drugs, especially opiates, be aware of the signs of overdose and get naloxone, an over-the-counter nasal spray in California that temporarily stops the effects of opiates (like fentanyl). Eventually the spray will wear off and the user will stop breathing again, but this will save them enough time to call an ambulance and provide life-saving care.
Residents were also recalled by Gunsolley, thanks to a drafted law by OC parents, that they can’t have legal problems if they call paramedics for an overdose in California.