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California AG Rob Bonta gives an update on the state’s efforts to fight fentanyl

CA AG Rob Bonta holds a press conference on fentanyl
Posted at 6:16 PM, Oct 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-12 23:48:53-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The rise in fentanyl availability and use is causing concern for many people in California, including those in Kern County, after a stream of reports of fentanyl use and overdoses in schools. On Wednesday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta addressed those concerns and shared what the state is doing to fight the drug.

Less than a month ago, a Kern County middle school student was caught with more than 100 fentanyl pills at school, and concern remains high from other parents about possible overdoses at other nearby school campuses.

“Our fentanyl enforcement efforts are critical for public safety,” Bonta said during a press conference. “Fentanyl is up to fifty times stronger than heroin.”

Bonta also said the fentanyl crisis is not new, but stemmed from a problem that started decades ago.

“This crisis began in the nineties, and was fueled by corporate greed,” said Bonta. “Pharmaceutical companies who put profits over lives by misleading the American public about the risks and addictive nature of opioids.”

Recognizing the problem at hand, law enforcement across the state has been cracking down on the possession and distribution of fentanyl. Bonta announced that more than 4 million fentanyl pills have been seized by law enforcement and narcotics task forces across California since April of 2021. In the Central Valley alone, more than 440,000 pills were seized.

The attorney general also issued a warning to anyone who is supplying or dealing the drug.

“Today is a downpayment on our work to tackle the fentanyl crisis, and the poison peddlers in our neighborhoods should watch out, because we are coming for them next,” Bonta said.

The work already in progress to counter fentanyl in California communities is just getting started, with Bonta announcing the creation of an expanded law enforcement program targeted at fentanyl.

“The millions of fentanyl pills we destroyed will soon have company,” said Bonta. “In our budget this year, we secured $7.9 million dollars, just shy of $8 million dollars, for the creation of a new program within the Department of Justice to expand this important enforcement work.”

The attorney general declares that the war on fentanyl is something that everyone will need to help fight.

“Law enforcement can’t solve this crisis alone,” said Bonta. “We all have a role.”

To find more resources on fentanyl and it’s uses, effects, and dangers, you can visit the Centers for Disease Control’s information page in either English or Spanish, or you can download the Drug Enforcement Agency’s fentanyl fact sheet from the DEA’s website.