Tom Umberg

Senator Tom Umberg introduces Fentanyl Awareness Day

Senator Thomas J. Umberg (D-Santa Ana) announces that he has introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 100 to declare May 10th, 2022 as Fentanyl Awareness Day in California.

“As the former Deputy Drug Czar under President Clinton, I know first-hand the extent to which substance abuse destroys the lives of individuals and their families,” said Senator Umberg. “This anguish is only amplified with the inclusion of fentanyl-laced substances in our drug stream. It is with a mixture of emotions (sadness, empathy, hope) that I am authoring SCR 100 to proclaim Fentanyl Awareness Day in California. It’s time to raise awareness about this epidemic so we can save lives.”

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid administered to reduce severe pain. It is 50% more concentrated than morphine, therefore when abused can cause brain and other health effects, including death. Four out of every ten pills with fentanyl tested by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) contain a potentially lethal dose and counterfeit pills have also been found to contain fentanyl-related substances and methamphetamine.

The United States in the midst of a Fentanyl overdose epidemic. Over 100,000 Americans died as a result of this drug in 2021 driven by traffickers mass-producing fake or counterfeit pills. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), fentanyl is involved in more deaths of Americans under 50 than any other cause of death, including heart disease, cancer, and all other accidents.

Illegally made fentanyl and its dangers, while well-documented by health professionals and law enforcement, are largely unknown to the general population and even more so to its most vulnerable population: youth and young adults. Among teenagers, overdose deaths linked to synthetic opioids like fentanyl tripled in the past two years, yet 73% have never heard of fake prescription pills being made with fentanyl.

Spreading knowledge and information is crucial in responding to this rapidly increasing threat. An effort is underway at the federal level to declare May 10th as National Fentanyl Awareness Day, as well.

James Carroll, Former Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (and Advisory Council Member for National Fentanyl Awareness Day) noted that, “The decades of work that Senator Umberg has undertaken to save lives across our country is now taking the next step by declaring May 10 as National Fentanyl Awareness Day. I appreciate the opportunity to join with him on this critical mission.”

Ed Ternan, President of Song for Charlie, said, “Senator Umberg’s recognition of National Fentanyl Awareness Day will help ensure that every Californian is alerted to the new risks posed by fentanyl in fake pills and street drugs. We are grateful for his support.”

SCR 100 will be heard on the Senate Floor before May 10th.

For more information about Fentanyl Awareness Day, see: https://www.fentanylawarenessday.org/

This article was released by the Office of Senator Tom Umberg.