Briefing Room: Fentanyl is a community problem

Logo courtesy of Seal Beach PD

By SBPD Sgt. Jordan Mirakian

Hi Seal Beach!

We were recently asked by a member of our community to address the rise in fetanyl related overdoses and deaths in Orange County as a topic for our Briefing Room. If you grew up in the ’80s like I did, you probably remember First Lady Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign, which encouraged children to reject experimenting with or using drugs by simply saying the word “no.” Back then, the War on Drugs targeted a highly addictive form of cocaine known as “crack cocaine”. The popularity of crack cocaine led to an increase in the number of Americans who became addicted to cocaine and crime and incarceration rates soared during the 1980s. While crack cocaine was more prevalent in impoverished inner-city neighborhoods because of the relatively low cost to manufacture and distribute it, by the end of the decade, it could be found in all areas of the country. Now, almost 40 years later, fetanyl is widely seen as a new and more addictive drug and its popularity is growing. Fetanyl is considered dangerous because of its high risk of overdose but even worse, fetanyl is often disguised as other drugs or even candy. When a person takes a large amount of fentanyl, their breathing may slow down and even stop. This can affect the amount of oxygen in their brain, which can lead to permanent brain damage, coma, and even death.

In November of last year, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer announced that his office would pursue murder charges against convicted drug dealers who dealt drugs which led to a death. This was in response to what the District Attorney referred to as a “1,000% increase over the last five years as a result of overdoses and deaths by Fetanyl.” The push for this county wide crackdown was a direct response to the increase in accidental overdoses and deaths due to fetanyl.

Last week, I was on foot patrol on Main Street and I was speaking with a resident in Old Town. He asked me this question which I thought we could publish in this week’s Briefing Room.

“Is there a fetanyl problem in Seal Beach or is it an out of county issue?”

The sad truth is that fetanyl is a community problem and it’s affecting every community nationwide–even Seal Beach. We’re sounding the alarm on this issue primarily to warn parents and kids about just how dangerous this drug really is and how easy it is to acquire. We also want to raise awareness about just how easy it is to unknowingly ingest fetanyl. As always, we ask members of our community to talk to their kids about how dangerous these drugs can be and we also encourage everyone to watch the video below, which was sent to us by a resident who lost her child to a Fetanyl overdose.