Fentanyl is a new epidemic in Riverside County. Illicit fentanyl is a dangerous drug that is killing people
in our community at an alarming rate.
Fentanyl is a synthetic, manmade opiate that can easily be produced in a lab or on the streets. Fentanyl is
less expensive than other opiates and is highly addictive. Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100
times stronger than morphine.
Deadly amounts of fentanyl are being used in manufacturing and packaging of other drugs as well. Fentanyl is
being added to counterfeit pills being misrepresented as Xanax and/or Oxycodone.
Our office recognizes that fentanyl is poisoning our community. We are dedicated to combatting the fentanyl
crisis with a three-pronged approach: prosecution, education, and prevention.
Our office is taking a tough stance on prosecuting fentanyl drug dealers. Our office was the first DA’s Office in
Southern California and among the few offices to criminally charge drug dealers with murder for selling or
providing fentanyl-laced drugs to someone who dies from ingesting it. We have filed several murder cases against
those selling or providing fentanyl to victims who later died.
In 2021, we started a campaign to educate the public about the dangers of fentanyl including various
informational videos and graphics on our social media platforms. We created a social media campaign “What’s in
your pills? Fentanyl Kills” to educate the public about the dangers of fentanyl which includes several
informative graphics and videos. We partnered with local community organizations like the Corona Chamber of
Commerce to provide vehicle bumper stickers with our phrase “What’s in your pills? Fentanyl kills.” The bumper
stickers were placed on official DA’s Office vehicles and were also provided to the public at various community
outreach events and presentations. 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. On a countywide level, our office is an
active participant in the Board of Supervisors-directed Multidisciplinary Committee for Fentanyl Response. Our
office also is collaborating with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and
the San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office to implement law enforcement trainings, public service
announcements, and school presentations in the Inland Empire.
Our Crime Prevention Unit recognized the importance of educating our youth about the dangers of fentanyl. They
created a presentation aimed at the high school student audience that includes various videos to grab and hold
their attention. At the end of each presentation, they have a parent share how they have lost their child to
fentanyl poisoning. These presentations have been given to students and parents both virtually and in-person
across Riverside County.
In addition to our public outreach efforts, our Bureau of Investigation has played a vital role in prevention and
enforcement. The Riverside County Gang Impact Team (GIT), which is supervised by the DA’s Bureau of
Investigation, has seized fentanyl from dealers in our community on multiple occasions. From Feb. 4 to March 10,
2021, GIT seized 10 kilos, or about 22 pounds, of fentanyl in Riverside County. That equates to about 5.5
million lethal doses. To put that into perspective, Riverside County’s population is 2.5 million people. In that
short period, our investigators seized enough fentanyl to kill every person in Riverside County. Twice.
The bottom line is there is no safe way to use or to sell illicit fentanyl. Simply put, it is deadly.
Dangers of Fentanyl >
The investigation by the Riverside Police Department resulted in the seizure of 21 kilos of carfentanil.
Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than fentanyl and 10,000 times more potent than morphine. A lethal dose of carfentanil in humans would be at the nanogram level – much smaller than the two milligrams of fentanyl that can kill.
If mixed in with other drugs, the 21 kilos of carfentanil seized could have been enough to potentially kill more than 50 million people.
The chamber worked with our office to provide 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 them to the public at various community outreach events and presentations.