The fentanyl crisis is continuing to impact California, with new information announced on Wednesday demonstrating the scope of the problem without addressing the severe impact of the border crisis on the situation.
On Wednesday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta released information on the fentanyl situation in the state and what the California Department of Justice is doing to fix the problem. He also conducted a press conference on the topic reportedly regarding fresh enforcement measures.
Since April of 2021, more than four million fentanyl pills have been seized, as well as close to 900 pounds of powdered fentanyl, with more than 200 arrests made. In a press release, the DOJ office noted that the efforts are still being carried out through the Fentanyl Enforcement Program.
However, the release added that Attorney General Bonta is also remaining committed to “an all-in approach by advancing effective public policy and working with national partners to hold the opioid industry accountable for their role in creating the opioid crisis and its impacts.”
The California Department of Justice has garnered more than $32 billion in settlements across the country, indicating where the department may see the problem stemming from rather than from the crisis at the border.
“Throughout the nation, we continue to address the impacts of the opioid crisis, and have in recent years seen a marked increase in fentanyl use and associated deaths,” Attorney General Bonta said, adding that the fentanyl situation “is a multifaceted public health and safety issue.”
“Whether through the seizure of illicit fentanyl through our ongoing enforcement efforts or by bringing California billions of dollars through our lawsuits and investigative efforts to hold the opioid industry accountable, the California Department of Justice is all-in when it comes to protecting California families from the dangers of fentanyl,” he noted.
The press release did not mention illegal immigration or the border crisis, although it vaguely noted how fentanyl “is produced legally through the legal pharmaceutical market and illegally through the illicit drug market.” It also pointed to the Fentanyl Enforcement Program’s structure to “dismantle criminal fentanyl operations.”
It also said that since April of last year, task forces aligned with the DOJ have operated “to detect, deter, disrupt, and dismantle fentanyl operations and criminal enterprises, supply chain networks, and other associated criminal syndicates.”
However, government information released in August showed that more fentanyl is confiscated at the border between Mexico and California than any other border area in the nation.
According to The San Diego Tribune, during the initial nine months of this fiscal year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection gathered more than 5,000 pounds of the drug at various locations and exercises in Imperial and San Diego counties, which is around 60% of the entire volume of the drug confiscated by border authorities across the country.
The fentanyl issue is impacting youth in the state. A California teenager recently passed away from what her family believes was an overdose of the drug. Several teens have died in the state this year from fentanyl-related causes.