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Orange County Board of Supervisors Approve $1.7 Million to Combat Drug Abuse

Orange County Board of Supervisors Approve $1.7 Million to Combat Drug Abuse

A photo of 14-year-old Alexander Neville who died after accidentally taking fentanyl is held in Irvine, Calif., on April 28, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

John Fredricks

John Fredricks

8/9/2023

Updated: 8/9/2023

The Orange County Board of Supervisors Aug. 8 unanimously approved $1.7 million to combat drug abuse across Orange County, including the deadly opiate fentanyl.
The funding will come from the discretionary account of Supervisor Don Wagner and will be distributed to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement personnel and equipment, and to continue a six-week drug prevention program for 5th and 6th grade students.
“It is important to reach kids this age as they prepare to enter junior high and high school, where substance experimentation and abuse can begin,” Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Carrie Braun told The Epoch Times.
The new funding will allow an additional deputy to be added to the program—called Above the Influence—for the next five years. Topics covered range from the addictive properties of nicotine to the dangers of fentanyl, Ms. Braun said.
The funding will also pay for a new “drug-sniffing dog,” a new patrol car, and new drug crimes investigative equipment.
“It continues the effort we’ve been making in the county to keep a focus on the fentanyl crisis,” Mr. Wagner told The Epoch Times.
Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner speaks with The Epoch Times from The Hall of Administration in Santa Ana, Calif., on Feb. 10, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner speaks with The Epoch Times from The Hall of Administration in Santa Ana, Calif., on Feb. 10, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

He said the opportunity to allocate the funding—especially in the wake of the fentanyl crisis—was “gratifying.”
It will continue “to give people an opportunity to protect themselves by learning what the signs are, having Narcan—or naloxone, a medication that can reverse opioid overdose—available to help somebody in a time of need, and to basically educate the public about the problem,” Mr. Wagner said.
Though the county has seen a dramatic increase in fentanyl deaths over the past five years, county officials have noted there has been a recent 5 percent decrease in fatalities, according to Mr. Wagner, compared to rising numbers statewide.
“We’re making progress here in Orange County,” Mr. Wagner said. “This is a matter of real lives we are saving.”
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John Fredricks

John Fredricks

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John Fredricks is a California-based journalist for The Epoch Times. His reportage and photojournalism features have been published in a variety of award-winning publications around the world.

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