Riverside County launches fentanyl awareness campaign to combat alarming rate of death
Several Departments throughout Riverside County including the District Attorney's Office, Sheriff's Department, and the county's University Health System are working together to combat the alarming rate of Fentanyl-related deaths.
Since January of this year, more than 300 people have lost their lives to the lethal drug and the Riverside County Sheriff's Department says those numbers are expected to rise.
Public health and law enforcement officials gathered at the Riverside County Administration Center to launch the 'Faces of Fentanyl' campaign.
The campaign is aimed at raising awareness for Fentanyl poisoning that affects people of all ages and backgrounds.
Christina Rodriguez, lost her son, Ernie Gutierrez while he was battling fentanyl his addiction.
"Fentanyl has no boundaries. It's everywhere. It's on our baseball fields. It's on social media. It's in the hands of our college students. It's in our jails. It's on the streets in the hands of our mentally ill," says Gutierrez.
Sheriff Chad Bianco with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department adds, "Our agency alone has also seized 3,771,963 fentanyl pills, and 398 pounds of fentanyl powder just since January 1 of this year.”
Bianco says that's enough fentanyl to poison the entire population of California twice.
The county also shared its continued effort to provide Narcan to first responders and prosecute those who deal fentanyl.
Between Jan 1 and June 30, there have been 214 fentanyl-related deaths in Riverside County, according to county data. The victims range in age and gender.
The 'Faces of Fentanyl' campaign is set to run for three months. A variety of messaging will be featured on billboards, social media channels and more.