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Monterey County Grand Jury Report cites disparities and delays in preventing youth fentanyl use, overdose

MONTEREY, Calif. (KION-TV) -- The Monterey County Civil Grand Jury (CGJ) issued a report on Monday investigating the fentanyl crisis among youth in the County.

The study aimed to examine effective fentanyl awareness and prevention education within the community and referenced a Rand Survey from February 2024 that reported over 40% of Americans know someone who died from an overdose. Additionally, drug overdoses were the primary cause of death for people between the ages of 25-54 in California, as well as the second leading cause of death among young adults ages 15-24 in 2022.

The study also noted that despite Monterey County receiving over $2 million of opioid settlement funds in 2022 and 2023, it has yet to approve final plans for fund allocations.

Opioid awareness expansion beyond the California Education Codes, drug education agency financing, mental health services among school campuses, Narcan training in schools and peer-to-peer leadership programs were among the concerns drafted in the report.

The CGJ recommends that the Monterey County Health Department (MCHD) take swift action to come up with a final plan for dispersal of the funds in addition to prioritizing middle and high school fentanyl resources, including access to Narcan. The CGJ also aims to promote mental health centers and leadership programs to target fentanyl awareness.

"The latest data released March 1, 2024, on the California Overdose Surveillance Dashboard confirmed that overdose rates again increased in Monterey County for the 12-month period ending the second quarter of 2023, making 2023 a deadlier year than 2022," cited the report. "Overdose deaths in Monterey County increased dramatically between 2018 and 2021. Illegal fentanyl flooding the market was leading to the spike in overdoses and deaths."

The CGJ is requiring response from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors within 90 days, as well as the Monterey County Superintendent of Schools within 60 days.

Monterey County told KION: "MCHD staff are working diligently with community partners to finalize [a] plan for disbursement of opioid funding for outreach and engagement of youth and residents through direct contact and social media campaign, distribution of Naloxone through community townhalls and kiosks in areas of greatest need, and community-based treatment services that are accessible to residents in areas of greatest need."

Article Topic Follows: Monterey County
fentanyl awareness
fentanyl crisis
monterey county
Monterey County Civil Grand Jury

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Jeanette Bent

I’ve been an international professional writer and performer for over 25 years. With a background in journalism, creative writing, dance and aerial, I find the intersection between all of these skills lands itself somewhere under the term “storytelling.”


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