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CA Senate approves IE lawmaker’s bills to mitigate effects of fentanyl use, abuse


An Inland Empire lawmaker's bills to ensure medical providers have tests to identify a person suffering fentanyl poisoning, as well as provide expanded access to drug therapy, were approved today by the California State Senate.   

Sen. Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, R-Beaumont, introduced Senate Bills 1442 and 1468 in the current legislative session as part of her effort to prevent further casualties from fentanyl exposure.

"As a mother, it's heartbreaking to listen to families describe the tragic deaths of their loved ones,'' Bogh said. "I appreciate the Senate's efforts to join together and fight against these senseless deaths. The opioid crisis doesn't know political boundaries, and neither should the fight we lead against it as lawmakers. I thank my colleagues for their willingness to stand against this crisis and support my efforts.''

SB 1442 establishes avenues for the state to fund and distribute fentanyl tests to healthcare providers, including community clinics, statewide to enable staff to "test for fentanyl use as soon as possible."   

"California will expand its efforts to reduce fentanyl overdoses (through the measure),'' according to the senator's office.   

Among the bill's backers was Sen. Kelly Seyarto, R-Murrieta, a former firefighter-paramedic, who said it was "crucial that we take every possible measure to ensure the safety and well-being of our communities."  

SB 1468 outlines ways to expand detoxification and related drug rehabilitation programs to assist those battling fentanyl and other opioid addictions.

"These measures begin to provide support and prevention strategies, essential for saving lives and mitigating the devastating impact of (fentanyl),'' Seyarto said. "We will have to continue to create an overall strategy that will address this issue and ensure that we are measuring participation and outcomes, so that we can be assured that we are not just throwing money at ineffective solutions."

The bills are now bound for consideration in the Assembly.   

Preliminary data released by the Riverside County Department of Public Health earlier this year showed that there were 388 confirmed fentanyl-related fatalities countywide in 2023, a 23% decline from 2022, when there were 503.

Fentanyl is manufactured in overseas labs, principally in China, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which says the drug is smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border by cartels.

Fentanyl is 80-100 times more potent than morphine and can be mixed into any number of street narcotics and prescription drugs, without a user knowing what he or she is consuming. Ingestion of only two milligrams can be fatal.

Fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans between 18 and 45 years old.

Article Topic Follows: Fentanyl Crisis

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