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CENTRAL COAST — The Tri-County Collaborative (TCC) has been awarded a California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Fentanyl Overdose Prevention Grant.

This multi-year grant totaling $1,280,985 over three years, provides critical funding to bolster efforts to combat the alarming increase in fentanyl-related overdoses gripping the Central Coast region of Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties.

“United, we can leverage the strength of our individual coalitions to maximize our impact across our three neighboring counties in which our communities crossover for home, work, play and to access needed health care services,” stated TCC in a news release.

Fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid, is about 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and has contributed to a staggering rise in opioid-related deaths in recent years.

Unbeknownst to people using drugs, fentanyl is frequently and cheaply mixed into other substances, like counterfeit prescription pills and other drugs. Combined with its potency, this makes it a particularly lethal substance, often leading to accidental poisonings, overdoses and fatalities, even in small doses.

Fentanyl-related deaths continue to rise across the Central Coast region in 2023, claiming more than 200 lives last year alone. May 7 marked Fentanyl Awareness Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of fentanyl and its devastating impact on individuals, families and communities worldwide.

“On Fentanyl Awareness Day, we honor the memory of those who have lost their lives to fentanyl overdoses and poisonings while standing in solidarity with individuals and families battling addiction,” stated TCC.

The TCC is composed of healthcare professionals, law enforcement agencies, community organizations and government entities unified around the urgent need for comprehensive intervention strategies to address the fentanyl epidemic.

“Amidst the growing fentanyl crisis, collaborative action is essential to protect the health and well-being of our communities,” according to TCC. “This grant represents a significant step forward in our collective efforts to prevent overdoses, save lives and provide support to individuals struggling with substance use disorders.”

Key initiatives funded by the CDPH grant include: providing education programs in schools; supporting overdose prevention and increasing access to naloxone (NARCAN); improving local overdose data surveillance; and increasing access to substance use disorder recovery services among those addicted to fentanyl or other opioids.

“Our collaborative approach is rooted in compassion, equity and a commitment to addressing the underlying factors driving substance use disorders,” stated TCC. “Together, we will work to stem the tide of fentanyl-related overdoses and poisonings and provide support and resources to individuals and families impacted by addiction. The TCC extends its gratitude to the California Department of Public Health for its support and partnership in addressing this public health crisis.”

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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