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'Well worth money to invest': Loved ones react to Newsom's plan to fight opioid crisis

Newsom's office announced the plan on Monday, March 20, 2023.
Posted at 6:18 AM, Mar 21, 2023

VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - Words like "Narcan," "Crisis," Opioids," and "Fentanyl" have been prevalent in the headlines.

The drugs tragically touched the lives of thousands of people.

One of them is Laura Brinker-White who lost her son Connor after he took a fentanyl-laced pill in May 2021.

“He took that pill on May 5th in the morning before school and he died within minutes,” said Brinker-White.

It’s why Brinker-White and others are here in Vista for a community forum for prevention strategies, local resources, and Naloxone training.

Her son's death is one of the many deaths we're seeing in San Diego County.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been seeing record number of Opioid overdose deaths in San Diego County," said Willian Perno, a Senior Prevention Specialist with SAY San Diego.

"Most recent year on record for 2021, we had 814 deaths."

To bring those deaths down amid the crisis, Governor Gavin Newsom announcing his administration’s master planto further address the fentanyl and opioid crisis.

An additional $96.5 million in funding in next year’s budgetwill go towards things like a Naloxone distribution project, education and grant money and making fentanyl testing strips more available to the public. The plan will also give the structure for a state plan where California will aim to make its own Naloxone.

Something people who’ve lost family members like Brinker-White are happy to see.

“And we need to stop this, right? Investing this money and bringing more awareness on advertisements on TV will make a difference,” Brinker-White said.

But for some getting the word out about the resources and how to use them is just as important as funding them.

“And letting them know that this can help save a life. But, this is kind of like; prevention would be you’re not using substances in the first place,” said Perno.

“It’s not only putting that money into the awareness of Fentanyl but, I think it’s the education that’s key. And having these Narcans available but you need to know how to use it, right?” said Brinker-White.