ROSEVILLE, Calif. — The fentanyl crisis continues to sweep the nation and have a harsh impact on Placer County.
"Just in the last few years, we've really seen an explosion of the number of overdoses specifically related to Fentanyl," said Rob Oldham, Director of Health and Human Services for Placer County.
On Wednesday, the Roseville Police Department announced on social media that they responded to four suspected fentanyl overdoses in 36 hours. In two of the incidents, they say the drug was in a purple powder form. Often times however, fentanyl is laced in fake prescription pills that are widely sold online and through social media platforms.
"This is very alarming to us," said Rob Baquera, spokesperson for the Roseville Police Department. "Unsuspecting purchasers of illegal drugs are using these products and then unfortunately having at times deadly consequences."
In the recent cases, Roseville police attribute the prompt administration of Narcan by first responders for saving the lives of the four overdose victims.
"That is the only treatment option that can bring someone back after they're experiencing overdose of fentanyl," said Baquera.
According to the CDC, from April 2020 to April 2021, more than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States. 24 Placer County residents died from fentanyl poisoning in 2020. Nearly half of them were under the age of 25. This year, the Placer County Sheriff's Office reported 12 fatal fentanyl overdoses as of June — but on average, the area sees two to three deaths per month due to the drug, according to Oldham.
"Now, the majority of the illicitly manufactured pills that they're seeing on the street have fentanyl, and it's really impossible to know whether you have a lethal dose in a pill or not," Oldham said.
In response to the rise in fentanyl overdoses, Placer County launched the '1 Pill Can Kill Placer' campaign.
"We understand fentanyl is in our community. We understand that people are potentially suffering from substance abuse disorders, but know there are deadly consequences," Baquera said.