Skip to Content

Doctors inform Pacific Grove parents and students about the rising dangers of fentanyl

PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. (KION-TV) -- Multiple agencies are taking part in a town hall focusing on the deadly opioid fentanyl and its impact on children and young adults in the community.

The town hall is being hosted by the Pacific Grove Unified School District Monday night — with medical experts and law enforcement agencies on-hand to talk about the dangers of fentanyl and similar drugs.

Dr. Reb Close and Dr. Casey Grover, both emergency room doctors at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, are leading the meeting — and say they have already seen a rise in overdoses in the first few months of 2022.

"Is it getting worse? Yes, it absolutely is. And what we're seeing on the front line, is our community needs to respect this. This is a new threat that we're not ready for," said Dr. Close.

Dr. Grover said fentanyl is so dangerous because of its potency. He said a 4-gram sugar packet would contain enough fentanyl to make 40,000 fake pills, and potentially kill 2,000 people.

"If you can imagine, if a grain of sand is the difference between breathing and not breathing, picking the wrong pill...
it's like playing Russian roulette. But there's a bullet in every chamber," said Grover.

"Even if you get it from a friend or from an acquaintance, most of those pills are coming from street dealers. And so you have no idea what's in that pill," added Close.

Local law enforcement is seeing a similar trend. Pacific Grove Police recently arrested two teenagers, just 17 and 19-years-old, for being in possession of suspected fentanyl pills.

And just in the last week, multiple agencies have reported overdoses believed to be caused by fentanyl. Marina Police said three young adults had to be administered Narcan, and Hollister Police had to do the same.

"Narcan is the brand name of this drug called Naloxone," said Grover. "It's literally as simple as a spray for allergies. You just put it in the person's nose and you press a little plunger. And it undoes the effect of an opioid in the body."

According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration, overdose deaths involving opioids rose more than 38% between 2020 and 2021. Just two milligrams can be deadly.

"Like the law enforcement teammates were sharing, we're seeing it even more so than what we were reporting in 2021. Obviously, we don't have enough information for the year to compare it. But anecdotally, every day we're hearing of a number of overdoses or exposures. And so it's obviously a problem that's worsening," said Close.

But Narcan could be the difference between life and death. Both doctors will be demonstrating how the antidote can save lives at the town hall.

"We've responded to people who are unresponsive on the side of the road. People have overdosed in supermarkets. I mean, there's never a bad reason to have a dose of Narcan with you," said Grover. "I had a case recently that came through the emergency department for a mom of a teenager who had gotten a dose of naloxone and then had actually used it within just a few days. And I'm so grateful that that child's life was saved."

Both Dr. Grover and Dr. Close also help to lead the Monterey County Prescribe Safe Initiative, which is helping to destigmatize getting help for drug use.

"The stigma of addiction keeps us from talking about it, and hiding our family members or ourselves when we need help," said Grover. "Imagine if my asthma was stigmatized. I would never want to seek medical care for my asthma, and I'd be having asthma attack after asthma attack. So if there's a family at this event tonight that needs help, we're here."

To learn more about the dangers of fentanyl by attending the virtual town hall you can sign in using the Zoom link created for the event at

If you'd rather attend the town hall in person you can do so by visiting the Jessie Bray Conference Room on Monday, March 28 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Article Topic Follows: Top Stories

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Victor Guzman

Victor Guzman is the Assistant News Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

Author Profile Photo

Lisa Principi

Lisa Principi is a reporter at KION News Channel 5/46.


KION 46 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content