Los Angeles/ Politics & Govt
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Published on May 28, 2024
California's War on Drugs, Over 5.8 Million Fentanyl Pills Nabbed in Statewide CrackdownSource: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

In an aggressive push to combat the flow of illegal fentanyl, California has proclaimed a significant blow to drug traffickers with the seizure of more than 5.8 million fentanyl pills across the state. Governor Gavin Newsom made the announcement, highlighting a series of drug busts occurring from January up through April. Last month's efforts were particularly impactful, with over 2.3 million of those pills confiscated through the California National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Combat Task Force, according to Governor Newsom’s office.

As the state continues to wrestle with the devastating effects of opioid addiction, Governor Newsom stressed the administration's two-pronged strategy of "tackling this problem head-on by holding drug traffickers accountable and increasing seizures, while at the same time expanding access to substance abuse treatment options," as stated by Governor Newsom’s office. Furthermore, the state has negotiated pricing to purchase naloxone, a key drug used in opioid overdose reversal, at a substantially lower cost, aiming to stretch taxpayer dollars further in the life-saving initiative.

In the previous year, California, under Newsom’s directive, swelled the number of National Guard members deployed for drug interdiction at ports of entry by about 50%, yielding a record-breaking 62,224 pounds of fentanyl captured in 2023, as per Governor Newsom’s office. This marks an astonishing 1066% increase since 2021. It is also notable that this comprehensive crackdown is aligned with President Biden’s bilateral cooperation agreement with China to tackle the issue of transnational shipping of precursor chemicals utilized in synthetic drug production. Newsom further strengthened these efforts during an October dialogue with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The governor's office has taken on a proactive digital stance as well with the launch of opioids.ca.gov. This online portal serves as a hub for Californians seeking out resources on prevention and treatment and offers insight into the state’s efforts to hold both big Pharma and drug traffickers accountable during this ongoing crisis.