RIVERSIDE – Fentanyl continues to kill in Riverside County at a frightening rate.
In 2017, there were 25 deaths in Riverside County attributed to fentanyl poisoning. Just three years later, in 2020, that number skyrocketed to 227. And Riverside County is on pace to potentially see more than 500 fentanyl-related deaths this year.
The DA’s Office is attacking the fentanyl issue in several ways including, when supported by the evidence, charging those who sell or provide fentanyl-laced pills to people who die with second-degree murder. To date, we have filed six such cases.
Proactively, the DA’s Office has partnered with the county, various law enforcement agencies, and others in our community to educate the public about the dangers of fentanyl. Riverside County has also formed a task force to get the word out and help stem the growing number of deaths.
“This is the first step of countywide collaboration that will inform our community members in Riverside County about the dangers of fentanyl,” said Board Chair Karen Spiegel, second district supervisor. “I created the Riverside County Fentanyl Task Force with the mission of focusing county efforts on both public education and working solutions to address this growing concern. I look forward to working closely with District Attorney Hestrin, Sheriff Bianco, and CEO Jeff Van Wagenen as the Task Force gets to work.”
Recently, the Corona Chamber of Commerce worked with our office to provide vehicle bumper stickers with our campaign phrase “What’s in your pills? Fentanyl kills.” The bumper stickers are being placed on several of our official DA’s Office vehicles and we will also be providing the bumper stickers to the public at various community outreach events and presentations.
“Our community members are dying at an alarming rate due to fentanyl poisonings,” said District Attorney Mike Hestrin. “I am grateful (Riverside County) Supervisor Karen Spiegel recognizes the importance of informing the public about the dangers of fentanyl by creating a countywide multi-disciplinary committee. Our office looks forward to future collaborations with our county partners and the Corona Chamber of Commerce.”
Bobby Spiegel, president/CEO of the Corona Chamber said: “Knowing the importance of a safe community, the Chamber is proud to support the efforts of the Riverside County District Attorney’s office in combating this epidemic. Increasing cases of fentanyl poisoning have grown tremendously, and we believe it is all of our responsibility to educate on the dangers of this deadly drug.”
In another partnership with the Corona Chamber of Commerce, the same image and message seen on the bumper stickers is also on a freeway billboard that is being placed in various locations across the county.
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