California state law enforcement officials are warning about the dangers of fentanyl after an annual report showed a dramatic increase in the amount of the dangerous opioid available on the streets.
Authorities seized 28,765 pounds of fentanyl in 2022 – a 594% increase compared to 2021 – with support from the California National Guard and federal law enforcement partners. The drugs have an estimated street value of more than $230 million, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. The state has invested more than $1 billion to combat fentanyl.
“The opioid crisis has touched every part of California and our nation this year. As we mourn the many lives lost, California is working harder than ever to fight this crisis and protect people from these dangerous drugs to ensure our communities are kept safe in the first place,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “California is cracking down on the fentanyl crisis, increasing seizures, making resources more available to Californians and ensuring communities have what they need to combat the immeasurable harm opioids have caused our society, our communities and our loved ones.”
The Department of Health Care Services has made millions of dollars in grants available to address the ongoing opioid epidemic. DHCS announced on Dec. 23 that it will bolster efforts to raise awareness about the life-saving drug Naloxone by working with colleges and universities. Grants are also available to help improve patient care involving substance use disorder, opioid use disorder and addiction.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta recently announced that the California Department of Justice’s ongoing work to address the fentanyl crisis includes the seizure of more than four million fentanyl pills and nearly 900 pounds of fentanyl powder. The Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation has also made more than 200 arrests through the Fentanyl Enforcement Program, a statewide enforcement initiative to detect, deter, disrupt and dismantle criminal operations.
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