LOS ANGELES, CA – Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion authored by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis to empower schools and youth to respond to the drug overdose epidemic in Los Angeles County.
“Los Angeles County is experiencing the worst overdose epidemic in local history, and it is having devastating impacts on our youth. The overdose rate for youth has more than doubled since 2020, driven by the spread of fentanyl. We cannot stand idly by and allow this to continue – the time to act is now. Our schools, their students, and parents must be empowered with the necessary resources to prevent these tragic events. That is why I put forward this motion. So we can leverage the expertise and resources of the County to develop easily accessible toolkits in multiple languages that students, teachers, school staff, and parents can use to prevent drug overdoses. By empowering our students and school community, we can help prevent unnecessary overdoses and deaths in the future,” said Supervisor Solis.
In the past 12 months, Los Angeles County has experienced a series of tragic overdoses, with at least 12 reported overdoses of youth who had taken illicit substances that contained fentanyl. Fentanyl is often mixed with illicit substances, such as cocaine, MDMA, and methamphetamine. But it is also being pressed into counterfeit pills that are falling into the hands of our youth, like Xanax, Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin. Drug dealers are targeting youth directly, with pills like “rainbow fentanyl” sold in a variety of bright colors, shapes, and sizes to be more appealing to youth.
The motion approved today instructs the County’s Department of Public Health Substance Abuse and Prevention Control Division, Office of Education, and Department of Mental Health to proactively reach out to schools and raise awareness of the resources available.
The motion will have County departments bring their expertise to schools to help raise awareness on the resources available to them, including the County’s RecoverLA website for those using substances, and how to acquire lifesaving naloxone (or Narcan) for interested school districts. Additionally, through this partnership, the County can provide support to parents, guardians, and teachers on the most effective ways to communicate with children and students openly and honestly to prevent drug use and overdoses.
Read today’s full motion here.