Tuesday Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) Chair of the Fentanyl and Overdose Prevention Select Committee, along with several other members of the Democratic Caucus held a press conference on Fentanyl Awareness Day to discuss Assembly Democrat’s legislative priorities to address the fentanyl crisis.
Fentanyl kills more Americans under 50 than any other cause of death, including heart disease, cancer, homicide, suicide, and other accidents. Last year 6,843 people died in California from opioid overdose, 5,722 of these deaths were related to Fentanyl.
National Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day was established in remembrance of the many loved ones that have died from fentanyl poisoning. Fentanyl prevention advocates across the country come together on this day to take coordinated action and warn the public about the dangers of fentanyl.
“Fentanyl is something that unfortunately my district is far too familiar with,” said Haney. “ I live in San Francisco’s Tenderloin and I’ve seen the devastating effect this drug has on the lives of family members and friends who lose someone to fentanyl.”
The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has declared Fentanyl “the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered.” Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin. Only two tiny milligrams of fentanyl is considered a potentially lethal dose.
“The Democratic Caucus is taking action and leading with solutions,” Haney said. “The California Assembly Democrats have introduced over 25 bills that are taking a wide variety of approaches to stopping the fentanyl crisis. Including legislation to stop the supply, removing barriers to treatment, and getting lifesaving first aid like Narcan into the hands of people who need it.”
“Fentanyl has become a public health crisis of the highest priority. It can be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and its influence does not discriminate; it affects people from all walks of life,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine).
“I thank Assemblymember Haney for his leadership on this issue and I’m proud to be the author of ACR 69, which recognizes Fentanyl Awareness Day. It’s important to highlight the dangers of fentanyl and remember those who have lost their lives to deadly poison. As a legislator and a mother, I will continue to work with my colleagues towards preventing further tragedies by supporting the development of multiple policy approaches to address this crisis.”
“When speaking about the fentanyl crisis, we must help those who succumb to fentanyl’s allure survive the danger, particularly our young people. Law enforcement also needs additional tools and resources,” Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-San Bernardino) said.
Ramos added, “That’s why earlier this year, I introduced two fentanyl bills, AB 461 to require community colleges and California State universities to stock fentanyl test strips and AB 462 to help fund overdose response teams. To win the war against fentanyl, the drug must be attacked from all angles.”
Haney will be chairing the Select Committee on Fentanyl, Opioid Addiction, and Overdose Prevention. The Committee will bring legislators, service providers, and law enforcement from across the state to come together to find solutions to stop the spread of fentanyl. The first Fentanyl select committee hearing will be held on May 24 and will be a joint hearing with the Public Safety and Health Committee.