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Narcan drive-thru distribution, training coming to Monterey County amid increase in overdoses

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION-TV): Nearly half of Americans know someone who's died of an overdose, according to a recent study from the nonprofit research institute, Rand Corporation.

A series of Narcan distribution events in south Monterey County this weekend aims to help give people more resources to save lives.

Sun Street Centers said they've seen a 75% increase in overdoses recently, particularly in southern parts of Monterey County. On Sunday, they'll partner with school districts and multiple south county cities to provide the overdose-reversing nasal spray.

"Our statistics show opioids, including fentanyl, are the second primary drug used, after alcohol, in our four residential treatment programs, surpassing stimulant use," said Anna Foglia, Chief Executive Officer of Sun Street Centers. "Additionally, mental health diagnoses have increased substantially since Covid as a co-occurring illness. Fentanyl use and mental illness are intimately related and need to be addressed together."

A tiny amount of fentanyl is all it takes to kill someone and the drug can show up in other substances like cocaine or cannabis.

People often suffer an overdose because they don't know what's in the drug they're using.

Morienzo Siva, who is in recovery at Sun Street's rehab center in Salinas, spoke on the impact that fentanyl has on him and his family.

“Me personally, it destroyed everything that was my main focus for a long time and I lost everything and bringing back here to Sun Street a second time has really helped me out," said Siva.

Narcan nasal spray is an essential resource that can help save someone from overdosing.

Michael Cunningham, who works with Sub Street's men's residential recovery program, said it's crucial to recognize the connection between mental health and drug use because people often turn to substances as a way to cope with their challenges.

“Mental health has definitely played a big part, a lot of people use drugs whether it be fentanyl, heroin, opioids, or alcohol to escape," Cunningham said. "They don’t want to deal with life and life’s turns so this is there way out and that in itself is a mental health crisis.” 

With the concerning surge of recent overdose incidents, Sun Street said Narcan is also in higher demand.

This weekend, there will be four locations where people can pick up Narcan for free and learn how to administer it.

They're happening Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at the following locations:

Gonzales High School, Spartan Alley (enter 5th St.) 501 5th St, Gonzales, CA 93926

Soledad High School, 425 Gabilan Dr, Soledad, CA 93960

Greenfield Fire Dept. (enter 4th St.), corner of Oak &, 4th St, Greenfield, CA 93927

Chalone Peaks Middle School, 667 Meyer St, King City, CA 93930

For more information, please contact Sun Street Centers at 831-401-5252.

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Briana Mathaw


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