Last week, narcotics officials stopped a vehicle due to non-specific code violations, according to the San Bernardino Police Department. The three individuals in the car were reportedly taken into police custody with no issues. The authorities looked through the vehicle and discovered the drugs — 20,000 fentanyl pills, as well as half of an ounce of cocaine. A loaded gun was also in the car, as well as over $1,200. The three individuals were arrested and could be charged with felonies.
On Monday, San Bernardino Health authorities spoke to the rising issue of fentanyl as there has been a spike in overdose deaths in San Bernardino County. The county’s public health officer put forward a health advisory about the situation.
The advisory noted that there were 30 fentanyl overdose deaths in the county in 2018, but the figure has gone up to 74 in 2019, and increased to 227 in 2020. In 2021, there were 309 fentanyl overdose fatalities.
“Deaths related to opioid use, such as fentanyl, are completely preventable,” the health officer, Dr. Michael Sequeira, said. “Efforts to reduce the effects of opioid overdose and death are a top priority for San Bernardino County.”
The advisory explained that fentanyl is “50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and is responsible for more overdose deaths than any other illegal drug in the United States.” Dr. Sequeira also pointed out that “rainbow fentanyl” has become more prevalent, which can be fatal and could attract more youth.
This summer, the Drug Enforcement Agency also released a warning over rainbow fentanyl, telling Americans the dangers of the drug that looks like sidewalk chalk.
“Rainbow fentanyl—fentanyl pills and powder that come in a variety of bright colors, shapes, and sizes—is a deliberate effort by drug traffickers to drive addiction amongst kids and young adults,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said at the time. “The men and women of the DEA are relentlessly working to stop the trafficking of rainbow fentanyl and defeat the Mexican drug cartels that are responsible for the vast majority of the fentanyl that is being trafficked in the United States.”
Fentanyl continues to be a rising crisis in California and across the country. California Attorney General Rob Bonta recently addressed the fentanyl crisis, discussing actions his office is taking to combat the problem. However, in a press release, Bonta did not discuss the rise of illegal immigration as a potential reason for the surge, even though fentanyl has been seized in bulk at California’s border.