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The Hornet

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

State officials look to provide support amidst fentanyl crisis

Deaths by fentanyl overdose in Orange County have increased by 177% in the past year, prompting California to respond through legislation and organizations aiming to combat the fentanyl crisis.
Pedro Saravia
Young adults are the most vulnerable group to the national fentanyl crisis. Local officials and organizations work to educate college students in Orange County.

The national Fentanyl crisis keeps getting worse every year, and Orange County is not exempt from this, as a 177% increase from last year in overdose-related deaths is seen all throughout the county. Local authorities and organizations had placed their hands into work by educating the most vulnerable group to these statistics which is young adults.

Amidst the rise in fentanyl-caused deaths in Orange County, Fullerton College’s neighboring university, Cal State Fullerton hosted a fentanyl awareness event with a Q&A panel titled, “Unraveling the Deadly Grip of Fentanyl on America & the World” by the World Affairs Council of Orange County on Wednesday, Sept. 20.

The panel consisted of State Senator Tom Umberg, retired OC courts Judge James Gray, and CSUF Assistant Professor of Public Health Dr. Lohuwa Mamudu. A short video featuring U.S. Congresswoman Young Kim and Orange County’s response to the public health crisis was played prior to the Q&A panel.

The event intended to bring local awareness to the national fentanyl crisis in the United States. In the video played at the conference, Kim spoke of the Stop Fentanyl Money Laundering Act of 2023, a bill that was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee in July 2023.

Clearsaves and Fentanyl Solutions are two organizations who were present at Wednesday’s program. Clearsaves focuses on having fentanyl test strip dispensers at high-impacted areas across the nation. Fentanyl Solutions is a new nonprofit organization, having launched this year and is based in Newport Beach, California, with the mission of raising awareness through education and mobilized action to combat the fentanyl crisis.

The World Affairs Council of OC, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization focused on educating and informing on important world affairs issues, WAC-OC’s president and CEO Richard Downie said to have seen the importance of doing an event centering on the fentanyl crisis because it is an international matter. He explains that fentanyl is being transported illegally from other countries, such as China and Mexico.

“Because it’s so potent and so little it takes to have such an impact, it’s easily distributed and easily transported,” said Downie.

During the introduction to the panel, Judge James Gray gave a visual analogy of how potent this drug is. He explained that fentanyl in the amount of a sugar packet one finds on a restaurant table is enough to kill 20 people.

“Last year, there were more than 100,000 overdose deaths from fentanyl, and you cannot help but be impacted by those kinds of statistics,” said Downie.

The free distribution of Naloxone, a medication used to reverse the effects of fentanyl, began in Orange County by the The Solace Foundation of OC. The intention is to avoid as many overdose-related deaths as possible.

The Solace Foundation goes around providing Overdose Recognition and Response to the community at training events around the county, with their upcoming training at the three-day Ohana Festival in Dana Point, starting this Friday, Sept 29.

“To date, I have distributed well over 50,000 doses of naloxone and recorded around 2,700 overdose reversals,” said Executive Director of the Solace Foundation Aimme Dunkle. “Having lost my 20-year-old son to an accidental overdose, I am very passionate about this work.”

Every semester she provides trainings at Fullerton College to support faculty and students in the fight against fentanyl overdose deaths. The last training occurred on Sept. 13 noon at Building 200.

For any Hornet student seeking support for themselves or their peers, the Fullerton College Student Health Services provides Radical Care resources on their online page, listing safety authority numbers for FC’s community to access. Students can also find contact information for off-campus resources on alcohol and drugs support on the website, such as the Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Team and the American Addictions Center.

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About the Contributors
Guadalupe Gonzalez, Copy Editor
Guadalupe Gonzalez is a first semester staff reporter and Copy Editor for The Hornet Newspaper. When not writing, she enjoys sewing, reading, and watching thriller or horror movies and spending time with her two cats. Her goal in journalism is to be a news reporter for a newspaper media outlet.
Pedro Saravia, News Editor
Pedro Saravia is the News Desk Editor for The Hornet Newspaper. He previously wrote for Inside Fullerton magazine. Pedro is a JACC award winning journalist for his work investigating Title IX issues at Fullerton College. Pedro enjoys going to the gym, playing and watching soccer, and hanging with his brother. He aspires to be a politics and sports reporter.

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