SAN DIEGO — The San Diego County Board of Supervisors are set to vote next week on a plan and funding framework to tackle the regional opioid crisis.
San Diego County is estimating to receive over $100 million in settlement money from several lawsuits against opioid manufactures.
Chair Nathan Fletcher and Supervisor Joel Anderson are working together to build the comprehensive plan and funding framework before the money arrives.
“So that the minute we receive these funds, they can hit the streets and immediately be put to work because the urgency of the situation we face on the streets today does not allow us to wait,” said Fletcher.
Fletcher added, the opioid crisis has only been getting worse over the last two years.
“In 2021, 800 people died of fentanyl in San Diego County,” he said. “A 400% increase from two years ago.”
“Last year more than 900 San Diegans died due to opioid related accidental overdose, a 54% increase from the year before,” Fletcher added.
According to Fletcher, there are seven lawsuits currently in the settlement process, including Purdue Pharma, Sackler Family and several others.
“In San Diego County, we have had year over year increase in overdoses going back more than a decade,” Chair Fletcher added.
The plan and funding framework will include medically assisted treatment, wellness advocates in hospitals, providing wrap around services, housing, drug disposal strategies and public information campaigns.
Anderson added, this will including partnering with tribal and rural communities in North and East County, which are deeply affected by the crisis.
“Part of the opioid problem in our jail system is that they figured out ways to smuggle it in by simply putting it on a piece of paper and mailing it in where it can be reconstituted at a later date,” Anderson said.
County Board of Supervisors are set to vote on the plan on Tuesday October 25. According to Fletcher, some of the settlement money should be arriving to the county by the end of this year.