SAN DIEGO — City leaders announced plans Thursday to tackle the growing fentanyl crisis that is now killing hundreds of San Diegans each year.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and law enforcement partners discussed the impact fentanyl is having across the city. They say fentanyl is causing death and destruction among the local youth and homeless populations at an alarming rate.    

Mayor Gloria he will be issuing an executive order sometime this month to prioritize the response.

The order would direct the San Diego City Council to develop policies and a program that would execute ground enforcement and investigations to clear drug dealers from the streets.

“More people experiencing homelessness are resistant to occupying shelter even as we grow the number of shelter beds,” Gloria said. “Many of these people are choosing to remain on the streets, closer to the supplier of the drug, that in many cases, they became addicted to after they became homeless.”

City data show opioid overdose is the top cause of death among unsheltered individuals.

As far as the death and destruction fentanyl is having on our youth, DEA Special Agent In-Charge Shelly Howe says it is important for parents to get involved.

“Every platform is available for your children to order these pills. They are gonna be sitting on the couch right in front of you ordering fentanyl with emojis and you will not know it,” Howe said. “If you do not have these hard conversations with your children and discuss the importance of “one pill can kill,” it may be the last conversation you never were able to have with your child.”