Fentanyl causes ‘a lot of carnage’ in OC. Lawmakers want to fix it

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“That's what's happening here with Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris, she represents Costa Mesa, some of the coastal communities, she's trying to push two Assembly bills, one that would really crack down on online companies that make it easier for people to be able to sell drugs,” says columnist Gustavo Arellano. “And another Assembly bill, it would raise the penalty for possession of fentanyl for sale, it would go from between two to four years to a three to nine-year sentence.” Photo by Shutterstock.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that’s used as a pain reliever and anesthetic. But it’s also become a popular and cheap street drug — with devastating consequences. In 2021, some 71,000 people died from fentanyl overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The numbers have only gotten worse. Orange County has seen its fair share, and civic leaders there are looking for ways to do something about it.

“In the past 15 years, especially in the wealthier cities like on the coasts or South OC, you've had a huge issue with opioids, and fentanyl of course being the most potent generation of that. It's really causing a lot of carnage, there's no better word to use,” says Gustavo Arellano, columnist for the LA Times.