In a recent interview with Fox 5 San Diego, Janice M. Celeste, the President and CEO of FentanylSolution.org, discusses the ongoing fentanyl crisis and the steps we are taking to fight against it. Fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid, has become a growing concern in recent years due to its devastating impact on public health.
Janice begins by explaining that fentanyl is a significant concern in California and in the United States, where drug overdose rates have been on the rise. She continues to explain that fentanyl has become so prevalent in illicit drug markets that many people are unknowingly consuming it.
Janice further elaborates on the dangers of fentanyl and how it has become a threat to public health. She explains that fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs, making it difficult for people to know what they are consuming.
To combat the fentanyl crisis, Janice and her organization, FentanylSolution.org, take a multi-faceted approach that involves education, awareness, and advocacy. She highlights the need to educate people about the risks of fentanyl and the dangers of consuming drugs from unknown sources.
In addition to education and awareness, Janice and her organization advocate for policy changes to tackle the fentanyl crisis. FentanylSolution.org has a ballot measure in process that imposes stricter penalties for drug dealers who kill users with fentanyl.
The fentanyl crisis is a significant concern for public health, and Janice and FentanylSolution.org, are working hard to fight against it. Through education, awareness, and advocacy, we hope to increase understanding of the dangers of fentanyl and promote policy changes. By working together, we can combat the fentanyl crisis and protect our communities from its devastating impact.
You can watch the news clip in its entirety here – https://youtu.be/qgy0y7LJxkM.
President Joe Biden’s drug czar has declared that the use of fentanyl mixed with Xylazine, an animal tranquilizer known as “tranq,” has become an emerging threat across the United States. The use of this drug combination has been linked to a sharp increase in overdose deaths, and the government is required to develop a federal plan to address the crisis. This declaration by Dr. Rahul Gupta, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, marks the first time a presidential administration has formally labeled an illicit drug an “emerging threat” and then required the federal government to take further action.
What is fentanyl mixed with Xylazine, and why is it a problem?
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is often mixed with other drugs to increase its potency. Xylazine is a veterinary sedative approved for use in animals, but not for human use.
When mixed with fentanyl and sold on the illicit drug market, it has caused a sharp increase in overdose deaths across the United States. Xylazine, which is not an opioid, cannot be counteracted by the opioid overdose antidote, naloxone, in case of an overdose.The spread of Xylazine-laced fentanyl has exacerbated the nationwide addiction crisis, ravaging communities and deepening the toll of addiction.
Why is this an emerging threat?
The federal government has reported that overdose deaths involving Xylazine have risen in every region of the country in recent years. From 2020 to 2021, Xylazine-linked deaths increased more than 1,000% in the South, 750% in the West, and more than 500% in the Midwest, according to a DEA report (DEA Report). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 66% of drug poisoning deaths in the United States involve synthetic opioids like fentanyl (CDC).
What actions will the federal government take?
The declaration by Dr. Gupta requires the Biden administration to develop a federal plan to address the crisis. The government must publish a response plan within 90 days and send implementation guidance to agencies within 120 days, among other actions. The federal government will be mindful that Xylazine has legitimate uses in the veterinary profession and the agriculture industry while working on a whole-of-government response.
What are the dangers of ingesting xylazine?
Xylazine is not approved for human use, and ingesting it can cause serious, life-threatening effects, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). People who inject it can develop flesh wounds, including blackened, rotting tissue (known as necrosis), which, if untreated, may result in amputation, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
In conclusion, the use of fentanyl mixed with Xylazine is an emerging threat facing the United States that has caused a sharp increase in overdose deaths. The federal government is required to develop a response plan to address this crisis, which includes evidence-based prevention, treatment, and supply reduction. It is important for parents to be aware of the dangers of drug use and to educate their children about the risks involved.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has designated six Sinaloa Cartel members and six Mexico-based entities involved in the illicit fentanyl and methamphetamine trade. This action is part of a whole-of-government effort to disrupt and dismantle the transnational criminal organizations that facilitate the illicit supply of fentanyl and other narcotics.
The designation includes freezing the assets of the cartel members and entities and prohibiting any U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with them. These measures can significantly hurt, stop, or slow down the cartels’ activities, ultimately disrupting the production and supply chain of illicit fentanyl and other drugs. “This is an impactful step toward hindering the cartels’ ability to make counterfeit pills laced with illicit fentanyl,” said Janice Celeste, the President & CEO of FentanylSolution.org. “There is still more than must be done. We can’t stop here.”
Also, by prohibiting anyone from the U.S. from engaging in transactions with the designated individuals and entities can severely restrict the cartels’ ability to do business with legitimate companies or financial institutions. This will limit their opportunities to launder money, transfer funds, or invest their profits, ultimately making it harder for them to import or export goods or services, such as equipment or raw materials.
“This is an impactful step toward hindering the cartels’ ability to make counterfeit pills laced with illicit fentanyl,” said Janice Celeste, the President & CEO of FentanylSolution.org. “There is still more that has to be done. We can’t stop here.”
Furthermore, the reputational damage from the designation can make it harder for the designated individuals and entities to establish alliances with other criminal groups or bribe officials. It can also signal to other criminal actors that they are not immune to U.S. law enforcement actions and that their illicit activities will not be tolerated.
The United States government has declared a commitment to disrupting the global production and supply chain of illicit fentanyl, including denying criminal actors who engage in this activity access to the international financial system. The OFAC’s designation of the six Sinaloa Cartel members and six Mexico-based entities is a significant step towards achieving this goal and sends a clear message that the U.S. government is prepared to take action to dismantle the production and supply chain of illicit drugs, ultimately reducing the harm caused by these drugs.Senate Holds Hearing on Illicit Fentanyl Epidemic
On February 15, 2023, the U.S. Senate convened a hearing on illicit fentanyl where a panel and lawmakers discussed the issue along with possible international strategies to combat the growing epidemic.
Along with a panel comprised of Anne Milgram, the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Dr. Raul Gupta, the Director of the National Drug Control Policy, and Secretary Todd Robinson, the Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, 14 senators from various states including, Ted Cruz (TX), Cory Booker (NJ), Tim Scott (SC), Jim Risch (ID), Chris Murphy (CT), Pete Ricketts (NE), Ben Cardin (MD), Bill Hagerty (TN), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Tim Kaine (VA), Jeff Merkley (OR), Todd Young (IN) and Chris Van Holen (MD), and the chairman of the hearing, Bob Menendez (NJ) worked to get a grasp on the reasons behind the soaring overdose rates and ongoing fentanyl epidemic.
Milgram stated that in 2021, 100k Americans overdosed and that 70 percent of those overdoses were from fentanyl poisoning. She continued by saying that from August 2021 to August 2022, 107,735 American lives were lost to drug poisonings. At the end of last year, the DEA seized 57 million fake fentanyl pills, which was 13 thousand pounds of fentanyl that equaled 410 million deadly doses, according to Milgram. That is more than enough to kill every citizen in the United States and still have almost one million pills left over.
“From August 2021 to August 2022, 107,735 American lives were lost to drug poisonings.”
The head of the DEA also stated that social media is not doing enough to curb sales of fentanyl-laced pills, when young users can get access to drugs with just four to five clicks. She called social media a “superhighway for drugs.” Her testimony was poignant. When asked why the cartel would use deadly fentanyl in fake pills, she told the Senate that it’s to get their customers hooked since fentanyl is highly addictive, 50 times more addictive than heroin and 100 times more addictive than morphine. “If a user dies, it’s the cost of doing business,” Milgram said from the cartels’ point of view. If one person dies from a social media sale, there are millions more they can sell to, she said.
Closing the southern border was also discussed at the hearing since 90 percent of fentanyl is transported through ports of entry. That point was muted when Senator Booker quoted the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, who was not present at the hearing, as stating that almost all of the fentanyl seizures at the border were not trafficked by migrants, but by Americans. There was also a bipartisan push to put more pressure on China to do more to stop the import of materials used in making illicit fentanyl; and for Mexico to disband the two main cartels, the Sinaloa and the Jalisco, who make and distribute most of the fake fentanyl-laced pills that make their way into the United States.
You can watch the hearing, which is more than two-hours long, on C-Span, here Government Officials Testify on Fentanyl Trafficking | C-SPAN.org.Fentanyl: A Growing Threat to Public Health in the U.S.
Fentanyl, a highly potent synthetic opioid, has emerged as a major public health threat in the United States. The drug is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine and has been linked to a growing number of overdose deaths across the country. According to nationwide statistics from 2022, the number of fentanyl-related overdose deaths has continued to rise, posing a significant challenge to public health officials and law enforcement agencies. Fentanyl is currently the number one killer of 18-to-45-year-olds, more than car accidents and COVID-19 (CDC).
The Rise Of Fentanyl
The rise of fentanyl can be traced back to the opioid epidemic, which began in the early 2000s with the widespread prescription of opioid painkillers. Over time, many people who became addicted to prescription opioids turned to cheaper and more readily available street drugs, including heroin and fentanyl. Today, fentanyl is one of the most common drugs involved in opioid overdoses, and its use has become a major contributor to the ongoing opioid crisis in the United States.
Deaths Are Increasing
In 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there were over 47,000 fentanyl-related overdose deaths in the United States, a significant increase from the previous year. This represents a staggering 67% of all opioid overdose deaths, making fentanyl the deadliest opioid in the country. The drug is particularly concerning because it is often mixed with other substances, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, increasing the risk of overdose.
The impact of fentanyl on communities across the United States has been significant. The drug is often sold on the black market and can be easily obtained, leading to widespread use and abuse. In addition, the potency of fentanyl makes it difficult to treat overdoses, and many people die within minutes of taking the drug.
What Is Being Done
In response to the growing threat of fentanyl, public health officials and law enforcement agencies have taken a number of steps to try and combat the drug’s spread. These measures include increased education and outreach efforts, improved access to addiction treatment and naloxone (a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose), and increased enforcement of laws and regulations aimed at preventing the illegal distribution of fentanyl.
Despite these efforts, the rise of fentanyl continues to pose a significant challenge to public health in the United States. To address this issue, it will be important to continue investing in education and outreach efforts, increasing access to addiction treatment, and taking steps to prevent the illegal distribution of the drug.
In addition to the growing use of illicit fentanyl, another major concern is the increasing prevalence of counterfeit pills containing the drug. These fake pills are often made to look like other prescription medications, such as Xanax or OxyContin, and are sold on the black market to unsuspecting consumers.
These counterfeit pills are particularly dangerous because they often contain unpredictable and potentially deadly amounts of fentanyl. The potency of the drug means that even a small amount can be fatal, and many people who take these fake pills are unaware of the danger they are putting themselves in.
According to nationwide statistics from 2022, the number of overdose deaths related to counterfeit pills containing fentanyl has increased dramatically in recent years. In many cases, these deaths have occurred in people who thought they were taking a different medication and were not aware that they were consuming fentanyl.
The rise of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl highlights the importance of using only medication obtained from a reputable source. It also underscores the need for continued efforts to crack down on the illegal production and distribution of these fake pills, as well as increased public education and outreach efforts aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of counterfeit drugs.
The increasing prevalence of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl is a growing public health concern in the United States. These fake pills are putting unsuspecting people at risk of overdose and death, and it is essential that steps are taken to prevent their spread and increase public awareness of the dangers they pose. To address this issue, it will be important to take a comprehensive approach that includes education, improved access to addiction treatment, and increased enforcement of laws and regulations aimed at preventing the spread of the drug.5 Things To Do If A Friend Is Overdosing
What Does An Overdose Look Like
A fentanyl overdose can have a range of symptoms, and the severity of the symptoms can depend on the amount of the drug taken, the person’s tolerance to the drug, and other factors such as their overall health. Some common signs of a fentanyl overdose include:
- Respiratory depression: One of the most dangerous effects of a fentanyl overdose is respiratory depression, which can lead to shallow breathing, slow breathing, or stopped breathing.
- Extreme drowsiness or unconsciousness: A person who has taken a large amount of fentanyl may become extremely drowsy or lose consciousness.
- Pale or blue skin: A fentanyl overdose can reduce the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, which can cause the skin to appear pale or blue, particularly around the lips and fingernails.
- Pinpoint pupils: The pupils may become very small, a condition known as pinpoint pupils.
- Cold, clammy skin: The skin may feel cold and clammy to the touch, which can be a sign of decreased circulation.
- Slow or irregular pulse: The heartbeat may become slow or irregular, which can be a sign of cardiac problems.
- Nausea and vomiting: A person who has taken a large amount of fentanyl may experience nausea and vomiting.
- Seizures: Seizures can occur in severe cases of fentanyl overdose.
If you witness a friend who is using drugs and your friend overdoses, it is important to take immediate action to save their life.
What Should I Do
- Call for emergency medical assistance: Call 911 or your local emergency medical services immediately. An overdose can quickly become life-threatening, and it is essential to get medical treatment as soon as possible to avoid serious harm or death. Be prepared to provide the operator with the location of the overdose, the symptoms the person is experiencing, and any information about the drugs they have taken.
- Administer naloxone: If you have naloxone (also known as Narcan), a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose, administer it as directed. Naloxone is available over the counter in some jurisdictions and can be easily administered through a nasal spray or injection.
- Stay with the person: Stay with the person until emergency medical services arrive. Provide comfort and support, and try to keep them awake and alert. You are protected by the Good Samaritan laws and will not be prosecuted for helping someone. If you leave and your friend dies, you are at risk for prosecution.
- Provide information: Provide emergency medical services with any information you have about the drugs the person has taken, including the type of drug, the amount taken, and the time it was taken. This information can help emergency medical services provide the best possible treatment.
- Cooperate with emergency medical services: When emergency medical services arrive, cooperate with them to ensure the person receives the best possible care.
Will Good Samaritan Laws Protect Me
It is important to remember that Good Samaritan laws are in place to encourage individuals to assist in a medical emergency, including a drug overdose. In many jurisdictions, these laws provide immunity from prosecution for minor drug offenses, such as possession of a controlled substance, when someone calls for emergency services in response to a drug overdose.
“If you witness a fentanyl overdose, it is important to take action, provide assistance, and call for emergency medical assistance to save the life of the person in need, rather than running away from the scene.”
In some cases, if an individual runs away from the scene of an overdose and does not take any steps to provide assistance or call for help, they could face charges for the person’s death, such as manslaughter or criminal negligence.
Therefore, it is crucial to understand the specific provisions of Good Samaritan laws in your jurisdiction and to take appropriate steps to provide assistance in a medical emergency, such as a drug overdose. Running away from the scene of an overdose can increase the risk of the person dying, and it can also put you at risk of criminal prosecution. The goal of these laws is to encourage individuals to take action and provide assistance in a life-threatening situation, so it is important to not be afraid and to take appropriate steps to save the life of the person in need.
If you witness a fentanyl overdose, it is important to take action and provide assistance, or call for emergency medical assistance, to save the life of the person in need, rather than running away from the scene. Call for emergency medical assistance, administer naloxone if available, stay with the person, provide information, and cooperate with emergency medical services to ensure the best possible outcome. By taking these steps, you can help save the life of a friend and ensure they receive the care they need.Meet our Board Members!
Janice M. Celeste
President & CEO
Janice M. Celeste has focused her professional experience on startups and communications. She supported parents dealing with substance addiction to ensure their children’s successful development while at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center.
Sen. Pat Bates
Patricia Bates retired from the 36th Senate District, which encompasses Orange County (O.C.) and parts of San Diego counties. She was one of the original authors of early fentanyl legislation.
Tritia Foster is a partner at Davis Farr, LLP, a CPA firm, where she specializes in working with non-profit organizations. She has a personal interest in ending the illicit fentanyl epidemic.
Chelsie Ilar is the Chief Marketing Officer at a prominent Orange County company dedicated to advancing substance abuse and mental health awareness.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Mother & Activist
Tina Burke is an Orange County mother and activist. Her 21-year-old son was poisoned with a fentanyl-laced counterfeit pill. She works diligently to raise awareness about the dangers of counterfeit pills to help others avoid similar tragedies.
Annette M. Malinowski
Newport Beach Chamber Member Service Director
Annette M. Malinowski has extensive experience in entrepreneurship, sales and community leadership. She also lost her daughter to fentanyl poisoning and works to seek justice by spreading awareness.
Attorney & Politician
Scott Baugh served as the CA Assembly Republican Leader, Assemblyman, and Chairing the Orange County Republican Party. He founded organizations like the O.C. Marathon foundation and owns Scott Baugh & Associates
Mayor Farrah N. Khan
Mayor of Irvine
Mayor Farrah became the 23rd Mayor of Irvine in November 2020, securing the highest-ever mayoral votes. She shattered barriers as the first woman of color and Muslim woman to lead a major US city. Re-elected
in 2022. Khan, who started in biotech, focuses on innovation, safety, climate action, and community wellness. Notably, she led COVID-19 efforts, diversity initiatives, and urban development during her tenure. Khan’s dedication is evident in her roles in education and municipal boards. She champions Irvine’s progress on a broader stage through affiliations with major city associations.
Ret. Assistant Dean & Chief of Staff UC Irvine
Court Crowther, a former Peace Corps Volunteer and experimental psychologist, retired after 21 years as a higher education administrator at UC Irvine. He enhanced graduate diversity, managed
federal grants, and champions marginalized communities through FentanylSolution.org board membership.
Public Affairs Strategist
Orange County Power Authority
Gabriel Dima-Smith, a seasoned public affairs strategist at Orange County Power Authority, utilizes a decade’s expertise in
steering government relations. With a Public Policy degree from California State University and pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration, he’s committed to preventing tragic fentanyl-related losses following the loss of his closest friend in 2021.
IT/ Cybersecurity Leader/Mentor
Matt Markley, an IT and cybersecurity veteran of 25+ years, holds a master’s in Information Systems and advanced InfoSec certifications. Beyond his tech career, he pursued his initial passion—teaching.
In 2022, he tragically lost his beloved 18 year-old, Jax, to counterfeit pills, fueling his mission to combat opioid crises, dismantle stigmas, and found Justice for Jax, focusing on empathy and analytics in this battle.
HONORARY BOARD MEMBERS
Mother & Activist
Amy Neville is a California mother whose 14-year-old son died of fentanyl poisoning from a counterfeit pill that was purchased on Snapchat. She tirelessly gives talks and testifies by sharing their story.
The fentanyl crisis has emerged as one of the most pressing public health concerns in recent years, claiming countless lives and devastating communities around the world. In the face of this alarming epidemic, organizations and initiatives that strive to combat the spread of fentanyl and raise awareness about its dangers play a crucial role. Today, we delve into FentanylSolution.org, an organization making its mark in the fentanyl space, and we explore our debut video, which serves as an introduction to our mission and vision.
Setting the Stage: The Fentanyl Crisis Unveiled
The video commences by providing an overview of the gravity of the fentanyl crisis, delving into statistics and personal stories that underscore the devastating impact this synthetic opioid has had on individuals, families, and communities. The narrative skillfully presents the urgency of the issue, setting the stage for the need for collaborative efforts to combat fentanyl-related harms.
Meet FentanylSolution.org: An Organization with a Vision
FentanylSolution.org takes center stage as the video transitions to introduce the organization itself. The viewers are introduced to the organization that tackles the fentanyl crisis head-on. Its shared dedication to finding solutions is evident, instilling hope and optimism in viewers that progress can be made.
Pillars of Action: The Multi-Faceted Approach
One of the strengths of FentanylSolution.org’s debut video lies in its interpretation of the organization’s multi-faceted approach to tackling the fentanyl crisis. Some of these pillars of action are:
- Prevention and Education: The organization emphasizes the importance of spreading awareness and providing accurate information about fentanyl, its dangers, and potential risk reduction strategies. By educating both the general public and key stakeholders, FentanylSolution.org aims to empower individuals and communities to make informed decisions.
- Policy and Advocacy: FentanylSolution.org recognizes the need for policy changes and legislative action to effectively address the fentanyl crisis. By engaging with policymakers, law enforcement agencies, and other influential stakeholders, the organization aims to advocate for evidence-based policies that prioritize saving lives, public health and access to treatment.
Call to Action: Mobilizing Change
The debut video concludes with a powerful call to action, encouraging viewers to join the fight against the fentanyl crisis. FentanylSolution.org invites individuals to engage with the organization’s initiatives, volunteer their time or expertise, and support their advocacy efforts. By mobilizing a global community committed to making a difference, FentanylSolution.org aims to create a future free from the devastating impact of fentanyl.
In this “The Fentanyl Solution” podcast episode, Senator Nguyen shares her personal motivation for fighting the fentanyl crisis, emphasizing the need to protect children and young adults from its dangers.
The discussion then pivots to the formidable hurdles faced in Sacramento when endeavoring to pass legislation aimed at addressing the fentanyl crisis. Within this
discourse, they delve into distinguishing between overdose cases and instances where children and teenagers unknowingly ingest fentanyl.
Furthermore, the imperative need for comprehensive legislation is explored, as well as the severe repercussions for those engaged in fentanyl trafficking.
Additionally, Senator Nguyen underscores the significance of observing Fentanyl Awareness Days on both federal and state levels. She fervently encourages parents, grandparents, and all concerned individuals to initiate conversations about fentanyl and its inherent dangers, underscoring the pivotal role of spreading awareness in safeguarding communities.
Click here to watch!
Join us in our crucial mission to save lives from the fentanyl crisis and drive impactful awareness. Your donation today will make a significant difference!
In a significant step towards combating the alarming rise of fentanyl-related fatalities, Narcan, a life-saving medication used to reverse opioid overdoses, is set to become more accessible than ever. Major retailers, including CVS, Walmart, Walgreens, and Rite-Aid, are now stocking their shelves with Narcan, providing a glimmer of hope amidst the devastating opioid crisis that continues to plague our communities.
The Urgent Need for Narcan in California
The urgency of this development cannot be overstated, particularly in California, where the illicit use of fentanyl has reached catastrophic proportions. Recent statistics reveal that a staggering 117
Californians succumb to illicit fentanyl poisonings every week. This harrowing reality underscores the critical importance of Narcan’s widespread availability, as it has the potential to save countless lives and serve as a crucial tool in the fight against this deadly epidemic.
FentanylSolution.org: A Beacon of Hope
In response to this dire situation, our organization has emerged as a beacon of hope and a key player in the battle against opioid overdoses. Operating as a Naloxone Distribution
Center, we have taken significant strides to ensure that Narcan is easily accessible to those who need it most. Our organization’s mission revolves around providing immediate access to Narcan, with the ultimate goal of minimizing the tragic loss of life caused by fentanyl overdoses.
Convenient Access in Newport Beach
Our office is located in Newport Beach, CA. We offer a readily available resource for anyone seeking Narcan. Our office serves as a welcoming and nonjudgmental space
for individuals, families, and concerned citizens to obtain this life-saving medication. In a crisis where time is of the essence, we ensure that Narcan is just a visit away. Please call 888-931-6244 for more information.
The arrival of Narcan at major retailers and the dedication of our organization mark a turning point in the fight against the opioid epidemic, particularly in California. With hundreds of lives lost weekly to illicit fentanyl use, the need for accessible Narcan has never been greater. It is a critical tool that belongs in every first aid kit, and its presence on store shelves signifies progress towards a safer, more informed, and compassionate society. As we continue this battle against opioid overdoses, let us remember that knowledge, empathy, and readily available resources like Narcan can be the difference between life and death, offering hope to countless individuals and their families.
Join us in our crucial mission to save lives from the fentanyl crisis and drive impactful awareness. Your donation today will make a significant difference!