Recognizing the toll of fentanyl

Assemblywoman Marie Waldron

On Tuesday, May 9th, we recognized National Fentanyl Awareness Day. Each month, fentanyl claims the lives of 500 Californians and nationally, fentanyl overdose deaths more than tripled over the past few years.

I serve on the state’s first Select Committee on Fentanyl, Opioid Addiction, and Overdose Prevention. I intend to bring attention to the fentanyl trafficked through the Southern Border, mostly through our district, and the thousands of lives lost in San Diego County, many from accidental overdoses. We are looking forward to our first hearing this month.

We need to focus on providing resources and support to those struggling with addiction. This means expanding access to effective treatment programs, including investing in mental health services, and increasing facilities, beds, and provider workforce training and licensing.

At the same time, we should crack down on the illegal distribution of fentanyl by working with law enforcement to target the sources of illicit fentanyl and increasing penalties for those caught trafficking and selling it.

Finally, we must raise awareness about this poison in our communities. Victims are not just chronic users and addicts. They are children, parents, neighbors, who were poisoned with a counterfeit pill, never even intending to take fentanyl. It’s often used in counterfeit prescription drugs but it is up in and 100 times stronger than morphine. It is crucial that we continue to share the stories of these tragedies so people are aware not just of fentanyl’s lethal potency, but how easy it is to accidentally ingest.

Fentanyl is involved in more deaths of Americans under 50 than any other cause, more than cancer, heart disease, accidents and suicide. If left unchecked, the fentanyl crisis will continue to claim the lives of mothers, fathers, & children in our state.

I will continue to prioritize this crisis and urge my colleagues to take meaningful action.

Assemblymember Marie Waldron, R- Valley Center, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the cities of Poway, Santee, portions of the City of San Diego, and most of rural eastern and northern San Diego County.


  1. My oldest son died 9/26/23. In NY from fentanyl. This is a pain that will subside. Perhaps something along this line would stop this crisis. Holding the states partially responsible for the trafficking and deaths of fentanyl. Average the number of fentanyl deaths with the arrest numbers relating to that crime. Have a % acceptable and a % unacceptable numbers. If they can’t meet the standard, reduce federal funding. There needs to be a reason for these states to Crack down on this. Because obviously, the massive amount of deaths are not enough. How very sad.


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