County's fentanyl problem is 'a time bomb' | July 22, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 22, 2022

County's fentanyl problem is 'a time bomb'

As deaths spikes, Board of Supervisors directs staff to identify funding to prevent more fatalities

by Sue Dremann

The number of deaths from fentanyl poisoning accounted for a staggering 80% of fatalities from all opioids in 2021 in Santa Clara County, 12 times the number of fentanyl-related deaths in 2018, data from the county's Medical Examiner-Coroner shows.

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Email Staff Writer Sue Dremann at [email protected]


Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2022 at 11:03 am

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

Parents, tell your children to consider this. People who sell illicit drugs get their product through extensive chains of criminals they don't know. Your child's drug pusher "friend" probably is a naive high school kid who is just trying to make some money who does not understand the risk he is taking with the lives of his fellow students. Help your child understand that the drug he gets from his "friend" may be laced with fentanyl that a criminal in the drug production and delivery chain has put in there. This is like playing Russian roulette. It is not worth the risk.

This is a conversation every family should have in a very frank way. Many people in the drug chain are very bad people, and they really don't care that they are victimizing you for profit. Talk with your kids when they are very young--BEFORE the get to middle school--whether or not you think your child is a "good kid." We did this with our kids. They never tried hard drugs once we explained the risks in the human chain, because they understood the risk. They took some other dumb risks as kids--but none that would kill them. I'm glad we had this conversation...and they (now adults) have told us that it made a difference. Please talk with your kids about uncomfortable subjects. In 6th grade they'll say, "Mom, I don't do drugs and my friends don't do drugs." Just say, "I understand and I'm glad to know that, but this is still a conversation we need to have so you can make informed choices going forward. Because you likely will be offered opportunity to try them at some point. I want to help you learn how to say no and why." They'll resist. Do it anyway. Their lives depend on it.

Posted by Judy Beckham
a resident of Los Altos
on Jul 21, 2022 at 11:10 am

Judy Beckham is a registered user.

Illegal fentanyl is being manufactured in China and transported to Mexico for eventual distribution in the United States.

The Chinese manufacturers must be held accountable as well.

Posted by panative
a resident of Southgate
on Jul 21, 2022 at 11:41 am

panative is a registered user.

Our young adult son carries Narcan with him and has encouraged us to do the same. It's available without a prescription. Hopefully we will never be in a position to use it.

Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 21, 2022 at 2:48 pm

What Will They Do Next is a registered user.

The open border policies of the Biden administration are responsible for a large part of this. Just look at the recent fentanyl busts in San Diego where million s of dollars worth of the drug was confiscated by police in the largest drug haul ever. Think before you blindly vote for Progressives/Democrats in November and 2024. This can't continue. Fentanyl overdose is now the number 1 killer of people ages 18-49 in the U.S. Time to put an end to this.

Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 21, 2022 at 5:50 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

@Consider your options. Your comment was excellent! I have read dozens of accounts of parents of middle-class children who would have sworn their children never used drugs. These statements can be read in a newspaper after the child has died. It's important to alert kids about this danger. And to say it in a way that's not moralistic and "just say no". The teenaged brain has not completed all its development. In a situation where peer pressure might cause the child to try a drug, a prior deep conversation about fentanyl deaths might be the thing that would have them refuse.

Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 21, 2022 at 6:29 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

Some very pertinent and a disturbing questions for people who aren't realists. The problem is not the dealers. It is the potential and actual addicts who attract dealers. Do we really need to support people who are so messed up that they crave opioids, and especially fentanyl? What are their benefits vs liabilities to the society and economy of Santa Clara County once they are addicts?

Sooner or later, Santa Clara County must apply cost-benefit analyses to addicts and other people with dysfunctional mental illnesses that force them to be highly dependent upon governmental megabucks. Government funding is finite, and it must be spent efficiently on those who benefit the rest of us best. "You can't save everyone. Just save those who benefit society".

Posted by Harold Johnson
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 21, 2022 at 7:48 pm

Harold Johnson is a registered user.

Fentanyl is a potent & synthetic opioid that has gained popularity because opium cultivation has been outlawed in Afghanistan by the Taliban.

During the U.S. military occupation, Afghan authorities looked the other way because growing opium poppies is a very lucrative business.

Posted by John
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 21, 2022 at 8:49 pm

John is a registered user.

Excellent reasoning William, now do Section 8 housing, Medicare and career crooks.

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2022 at 9:20 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

With all due respect to all parents, no parent knows for sure if their kids ever did drugs. You're not with them 24/7/365. Talking to kids about drugs is obviously a good idea. If they're going to do drugs, they'll do them anyway.

The problem is the dealers and the addicts. They co-exist.

Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 22, 2022 at 9:19 am

vmshadle is a registered user.

William Hitchens and John, sure, let's reinstitute public hangings. Start with drug addicts and career criminals, then move to the poor who can't afford our outrageous home prices, then Medicare recipients. Pretty soon, we'll have an ideal citizenry of young, able-bodied, and rich Aryans! (Whoops, did I say that?)

Posted by Beatrice Baker
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 22, 2022 at 9:23 am

Beatrice Baker is a registered user.

What prompts people to turn to opioids and now fentanyl for recreational purposes?

Is it a genetic predisposition towards substance abuse?

Or did they get addicted while recovering from athletic injuries sustained earlier?

Posted by Alan Whitaker
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 22, 2022 at 9:59 am

Alan Whitaker is a registered user.

I suspect that the majority of drug addicts do not want to quit their habit (or lack the willpower) and this in turn perpetuates the problem.

One option might be to initiate mandatory SC County Public Health Department guardianships where arrested drug addicts are forcefully taken off the streets and placed into sanctioned detox centers for opioid/fentanyl, and methamphetamine addictions.

This concept would cost taxpayer dollars and could be presented to voters as a SC County Proposition/Initiative.

Posted by Darin McPheeters
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 22, 2022 at 2:28 pm

Darin McPheeters is a registered user.

We are currently experiencing a major public health crisis.

COVID/Omicron, opioid/fentanyl addiction, and now monkeypox are running rampant throughout our country.

Opioid/fentanyl addiction and monkeypox can be easily avoided providing people resist temptation and exercise self-discipline.

The spread of COVID/Omicron presents a far more challenging and complex public health issue/problem.

Curtailing COVID should continue to receive first priority over easily preventable diseases and afflictions like drug abuse and monkeypix.

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jul 23, 2022 at 5:06 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

In response to Beatrice, I think addictive substances are by nature addictive. If one is in a hospital having a painful procedure I think physical dependence can occur rapidly. I had major surgical bone surgery years ago and they put in an IV with a morphine pump attached. I was supposed to hit the button every 3 hours. I refused to do it. The nurses kept saying I had to, to "stay ahead" of the pain. I wasn't feeling pain so I wouldn't smash the button. I think the nurses favor the pump because it keeps the patient quiet and thus, makes fewer demands. I wasn't there to make the nurses happy I was there to get my parts fixed. I didn't hit the pump, and I didn't fill the prescription for opioids after, either. I only took ibuprofen.

I thought fentany was a tightly controlled substance. I don't know how dealers get it in such quantities that they use it as an additive in whatever they're brewing up. I do know of one friend's child who was getting high at a party and went unconscious. EMT's couldn't revive her and the coroner said it was fentanyl poisoning. If just "talking to your kids" was enough, this kid should have never died. Her parents are up front about their own addictions, and are both in recovery. It's just tragic to go to a funeral for someone who's parents talked about the risks of drug use every day of their kids' lives. Here one day, a lively and vivacious young person with nothing but good things ahead, the next day everyone is mourning a tragic loss. I don't know if there's a logical answer to the fentanyl question.

Posted by Charlene Johnson
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 24, 2022 at 8:58 am

Charlene Johnson is a registered user.

"...I think addictive substances are by nature addictive".

^ Doesn't that go without saying?

Painkillers affect & impact everyone differently.

Like MyFeelz, when I was in the hospital recovering from surgery, I was also being administered morphine via an IV clicker.

It didn't work for me & so I requested (and was approved for) an ibuprofen IV.

The ibuprofen was far more effective.

Some people/patients get their 'kicks' from codeine, Vicodin, Percocet etc. but it doesn't work that way for everyone.

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