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Victorville City Council Advances Discussions on Fentanyl Awareness Campaign

VICTORVILLE, Calif. ( – The Victorville City Council has taken a significant step in addressing the fentanyl crisis by motioning to continue discussions on the creation of a Fentanyl Awareness Campaign.

The council aims to establish a partnership between the City of Victorville and the Institute for Public Strategies to develop a comprehensive plan and educational program.

Background and Council Interest

Council Member Harriman first expressed the need for a Fentanyl Awareness and Education program during the regular City Council meeting on June 20, 2023.

This request prompted staff to gather information on the necessity of such a program and any potential legal implications.

In their research, the Victorville City Council identified the Institute for Public Strategies (IPS) as a valuable resource.

Staff members engaged with IPS Program Manager, Ms. Carolina Gabaldon, to acquire critical data on local fentanyl overdose rates and explore existing awareness programs.

The Institute for Public Strategies and Their Efforts

The Institute for Public Strategies (IPS) is a nonprofit public health organization dedicated to reducing health disparities and advancing equity.

They specialize in implementing prevention programs and have received funding from various government agencies, including the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health, the California Office of Traffic Safety, and the Department of Justice.

IPS offers a range of initiatives, such as Naloxone (Narcan) training, establishing standing orders with the California Department of Public Health, and collaborating with local community organizations.

Their collaborative effort with the High Desert Coalition, known as the High Desert Fentanyl Prevention Program, aims to combat the fentanyl crisis.

Alarming Rise in Fentanyl-related Deaths

The impact of fentanyl in San Bernardino County has risen sharply over the past decade. According to the CA Opioid-related data chart, fentanyl-related deaths continue to increase, with a 38% surge in 2020 compared to 2019.

Victorville, Adelanto, Apple Valley, and Hesperia have all experienced a significant rise in fentanyl-related deaths in recent years.

Sharing Critical Data and Presentations

To raise awareness about fentanyl and its impact on Victorville and surrounding areas, Ms. Carolina Gabaldon from IPS presented specific data and information to the City Council during a recent meeting.

The aim of the presentation was to encourage the council members to engage in discussions about forming a partnership with IPS for the creation and delivery of a Fentanyl Awareness and Education program.

Council Decision and Future Steps

During the council meeting, Mayor Debra Jones proposed amending the motion to involve collaboration between Gobaldin’s organization and the City of Victorville.

The council voted in favor, except for Councilmember Blanca Gomez who voted against it. The amended motion includes bringing back a presentation with a clear budget, ensuring transparency and efficiency in utilizing staff resources.

City Manager Keith C. Metzler expressed optimism about developing a fruitful partnership, leveraging the city’s funding source from the Opioid Settlement.

A future presentation and offer will be scheduled, providing a comprehensive plan and program for the council’s consideration.

Urging Community Action and Support

As the City of Victorville advances discussions on the Fentanyl Awareness Campaign, residents are encouraged to educate themselves about fentanyl and other substances.

For more information, they can contact the Institute for Public Strategies at 760-843-7003 ext. 146 or the High Desert Community Coalition at 442-229-4912.

In the fight against overdose deaths, community members are urged to receive Naloxone training, carry naloxone for emergencies, be vigilant for signs of overdose, administer Naloxone, call 911, support breathing, monitor response, and wait for professional help.

The City of Victorville acknowledges the urgency of addressing the fentanyl crisis and believes that working with organizations like IPS will complement their existing efforts, particularly with regard to the Wellness Center.

With a clear plan and the support of the community, they aim to make a significant impact in combating the fentanyl crisis in the region.

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