Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County title=
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County
50 Comments
Reads 6054

Source: Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

On Wednesday, May 18, 2022, Sheriff Brown and Santa Barbara County community leaders announced the launch of Project Opioid Santa Barbara County. This regional overdose initiative is aimed at promoting high level advocacy in an effort to transform and save the greatest number of lives in the communities of Santa Barbara County.

Sheriff Brown opened the press conference by introducing Santa Barbara County as the first in California to initiate Project Opioid and  introduced a report title “The Changing Overdose Crisis in California: A Community Needs Assessment of Santa Barbara County” that can be found on the Sheriff’s Office website. Sheriff Brown outlined the history of the opioid epidemic that began in the 1990’s with the over-prescription of opioid medications, followed by stricter laws on prescription drugs that caused opioid addicts to seek out street level illicit drugs to replace over-prescribed medications, followed by the current was that began 2013 with rise in synthetic opioids. At the forefront of those synthetic drugs is fentanyl, a drug 80-100 time more powerful than morphine. Sheriff Brown shared startling statistics on opioid death across the nation, as well as local statistic that show that show an increase in overdose deaths over the past five years. He highlighted that while overdose deaths are highest amongst whites, deaths in the Hispanic community increasing at a higher rate. Sheriff Brown then introduced Dr. Kendall Cortelyou the Director of Data, Analytics, and Strategy with Project Opioid, a non-profit organization committed to empowering the business and faith community to make a difference in the opioid crisis.

Dr. Cortelyou shared that fentanyl has infiltrated the drug supply and has changed the game with regard to who is dying and how quickly they are dying. Fentanyl being pressed into pills that look like a variety of routine prescription medications as well as being added into cocaine. She highlighted that it is important for the community to understand that drugs may or may not be what they are intending on taking.

Next, Sheriff Brown introduced community leaders and Project Opioid Santa Barbara partners including Janelle Osborne, City of Lompoc Mayor; Dr. Scott Whiteley, CADA Executive Director; John Doyle, Santa Barbara Department of Behavioral Wellness; Kristin Flickinger, Executive Director Pacific Pride; Pastor Bernie Federman, Lompoc FourSquare Church; Dr Paul Erickson, Cottage Hospital; John Savernoch, Assistant District Attorney, Chief Joseph Mariani, Lompoc Police; and Retired Superior Court Judge Rogelio Flores.

Sheriff Brown closed the press conference by outlining the future of Project Opioid Santa Barbara County including increase availability of the overdose reversal drug naloxone at Sheriff’s substations. There will be an educational campaign that focuses on the dangers of fentanyl. Project Opioid partners plan to coordinate narcotics enforcement to target dealers who sell fentanyl in our communities. Project Opioid will work to enhance and expand essential treatment programs and follow up with victims of near-fatal overdoses and ensure that they are offered services. Finally, Project Opioid partners will work diligently to reduce the stigma of addiction and send the message that collectively, we are deeply concerned for those who are abusing drugs in our community.

A full-length video of the press conference is available on the Sheriff’s Office YouTube channel.

Login to add Comments

50 Comments

Show Comments
AwareHuman May 23, 2022 09:17 AM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

Glad to read that narcotic enforcement is included. Drug dealers must be a top priority, which they are not...WE need to have transparency and demand a disclosure of how many, if any, have been arrested! I understand the number is close to zero. Until drugs are not so readily available, there will be no reduction of addicts & homelessness.

doulie May 23, 2022 06:39 PM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

"Project Opioid partners plan to coordinate narcotics enforcement to target dealers who sell fentanyl in our communities." No disrespect to involved "Project" partners but how will they coordinate enforcement and "target dealers?" To me, this appears to be a law enforcement narcotics unit responsibility.

sacjon May 23, 2022 09:46 AM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

DOULIE - no absolutely not. The War on Drugs (ie, war on users) has been an absolute, complete and total failure. Imprisoning addicts and curious teenagers will never stem the tide. You want to stop the flow of drugs? Go to the source. Increase operations overseas/south of the border. Patrol known drug deal areas (local parks, Chase Palm Park, etc). Busting addicts in the street does nothing. Spend the time and resources to bust dealers, from street dealers to international upper level dealers. Harassing and accosting addicts is cruel. Take their drugs, don't imprison/interrogate them.

doulie May 23, 2022 03:05 PM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

SAC - I've said before, IMO the "war on drugs" will never be won. There are too many people that enjoy drug use and people to step right in and replace the "dealer" that is arrested and put in jail. How do you suggest arresting the "dealer?" IMO chasing down, arresting/interrogating and "using" the drug user gives cops the best chance of getting information leading to a "dealer. My comments refer to local level drug activity. The (arrested) street level user/dealer may provide information that could allow a case to develop into an upper level investigation. The local "dealer" must have a source, their arrest might lead to someone dealing in larger quantities and up and up. No telling where information from a local "junkie/user/teenager" may lead. You state "harassing and accosting addicts is cruel." I don't agree and am not concerned about "cruel" with a "junkie"/user as long as the case is handled within the law. I will guess these clowns don't work 9-5 to sustain their habit but burglarize, rob, commit other thefts and assault people to obtain money for their drugs. What I'd be concerned with is the problems they inflict on their victims and their own families. Then again, I'll guess the cops hand this part of the arrest to a social service agency.

Voice of Reason May 23, 2022 03:37 PM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

Sacjon, your logic is stunning. You want the police to arrest the dealers by "doing police work" but not allow them to question the illegal users they catch with this illegal product about where they illegally got it, which, having gradated from the school of Law & Order, I understand is called 'police work'.

Voice of Reason May 23, 2022 04:28 PM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

Doulie: quickest ways to the "dealer(s)" is by putting pressure on and arresting the "users." IMO the more users arrested increases the chances of one of them giving up information that takes the cops up the supply chain to what could be a significant "dealer.
Sacjon: no absolutely not.

Sure sounds like you don't want the police to question the users. But you are correct, you never said exactly "not allow them to questions the illegal users", of course, I wasn't quoting you either.

sacjon May 23, 2022 04:41 PM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

"Sure sounds like you don't want the police to question the users." Nope, never said that. I object to the tactic of focusing efforts on busting users instead of dealers, which is what DOULIE proposed. I never said the cops should be able to ask users where they got it, I just disagree with the tactic of arresting users as opposed to focusing efforts on going after small time to big time dealers to get to the cartels who are producing and supplying this stuff.

a-1653330450 May 23, 2022 11:27 AM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

Because it's cheap and 1000x stronger so cutting it with other drugs increases the profit for the dealer and increases the high for the user. But if the user doesn't know it's in there and aren't aware of its strength, they can OD on doses that normally they'd tolerate.

a-1653332282 May 23, 2022 11:58 AM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

That's a good point. I don't know why dealers would want to kill their own customers but it seems to be the quick and easy way to make a buck. Here's what DEA.gov has to say:

"Fentanyl is being mixed in with other illicit drugs to increase the potency of the drug, sold as powders and nasal sprays, and increasingly pressed into pills made to look like legitimate prescription opioids. Because there is no official oversight or quality control, these counterfeit pills often contain lethal doses of fentanyl, with none of the promised drug.

There is significant risk that illegal drugs have been intentionally contaminated with fentanyl. Because of its potency and low cost, drug dealers have been mixing fentanyl with other drugs including heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine, increasing the likelihood of a fatal interaction."

a-1653331954 May 23, 2022 11:52 AM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

@Coast, that is a false and incendiary theory, otherwise known as Replacement Theory, that caused a teen to shoot up a grocery store and kill 10 black people, because he felt they were replacing him as a white man. You must be a U.S. citizen to be able to vote, those who immigrate here cannot vote unless they gain citizenship.

SBStoner May 24, 2022 08:34 AM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

Do we have an “open border policy” that I don’t know about?

Even Canada has regulated crossings and is considered much more lax than the southern border.

I bet you like all the food on your table. Now try and put it all there by yourself. Without migrant workers and immigration we’d be dead in the water economically.

a-1653332784 May 23, 2022 12:06 PM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

By stating that democratic policy at the border is intentional to bring in "100s of thousands" of future democratic voters is the basis of a false and evil theory circling white supremacist, far right, and Qanon groups known as "Replacement Theory." And that theory is what radicalized that man to shoot Black people.

I dare you to read more about it from the most unbiased news source around:
https://www.npr.org/2022/05/17/1099223012/how-the-replacement-theory-went-mainstream-on-the-political-right

But, I bet you won't read it and will angrily turn on OAN and Fox to hear more of the same.

sacjon May 23, 2022 01:20 PM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

There is no "open border policy." Why do you people keep insisting there is? Just because it's not as restrictive as the last president's, doesn't mean it's an "open border policy."

https://www.newsweek.com/joe-biden-doesnt-have-open-border-policy-so-why-do-republicans-say-otherwise-1672356

https://www.politifact.com/article/2022/apr/26/greg-abbott-refers-bidens-open-border-policies-are/

https://www.cato.org/blog/bidens-border-policy-not-open-borders

Voice of Reason May 23, 2022 02:41 PM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

Do you really believe our CURRENT POLICY isn't ACCURATELY DESCRIBED as "open-border"? You can nit pic semantics as usual, but for all intents and purposes, we most certainly do have an open border. And back to Coastwatch's question, why the [however you'd like to define it] border policy?

sacjon May 23, 2022 02:54 PM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

VOICE - lol man oh man you just don't get it.... there IS NO POLICY. Aside from rolling back some of DT's restrictions, there is no "policy" to "open" the border. Do you honestly believe we are operating now under some policy that allows free and open border crossing with no security in place? Until you can cite said policy or any rules/regs/laws stating there shall be no security at our borders, please stop spreading the LIE about this "open border policy" which does not and has not ever existed.

Babycakes May 23, 2022 03:22 PM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

HBA: Camarena has a lot of ground to cover before he can catch up to Sheriff Brown. A recent poll had Camarena behind by 25 points or so. Not sure how accurate that number is, but Brown is pretty much considered a lock this time around. Maybe Camarena can do some PR work the next time around?

Basicinfo805 May 23, 2022 05:20 PM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

What a mess. So sad that we have this stuff going on. I can’t say I have a suggestion for a solution, other than that everyone starts at home with their own kids - raising them right, being there for them, getting them involved in things that interest them. Let’s hope the next generation can improve.

ParvoPup May 23, 2022 07:28 PM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

Can anyone point to me towards any historical recording of any successful "War On -----(fill in the blank)?

For all of these decades of societal war on this and societal war on that, I've yet to see us win a single battle.

War on drugs, war on crime, war on pollution, war on nukes, war on poverty, war on disease, war on homeless, war on cancer, war on war. And have we "won" a single war yet - not even close.

How about we accept the fact that humans are a devious and creative species and no matter your social laws, your societal hope or your collective desire, somebody is going to find a way around it.

Live your own life inside of your own bubble and just accept the fact that f-ups are always going to be with us and as long as they only abuse themselves, why should we care as long as it doesn't directly affect me and mine.

Life is too short to waste it trying to be the Social Cop for all of the screw-ups in the world.

Besides, they outnumber us anyway.

My life became much calmer and more satisfying once I accepted the reality that at least 80% of humanity is comprised of morons.

SBStoner May 24, 2022 08:28 AM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

It’s simple, decriminalize the drugs that aren’t illegal in other more progressive countries and nationalize the production and supply and the dealers will turn belly up from lack of profits.

Producers, dealers, distributors and importantly gangs rely on a market and if the fed takes over the market then they have nothing.

Picking up the low level dealers does almost nothing. They either have street cred to preserve or don’t know anything, and the next kid wanting bills in his pocket is easy to find.

sacjon May 24, 2022 08:49 AM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

SBSTONER - "Picking up the low level dealers does almost nothing." - True, and arresting and questioning users only leads to these street dealers. Users don't know the suppliers. All they know is the guy/kid who supplies their next fix. If you want to fight drugs, you have to go after the suppliers or stop the market altogether through regulation.

sacjon May 24, 2022 12:09 PM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

DOULIE - Not without the user, just without making your drug policy focus on arresting users. But to also answer your question, using investigation and intel to find the public places where these deals go down and bust the dealers. I think you can gain much more from a street dealer than a user.

Not sure why this is a source of argument. I just don't think focusing on users is the right way. Go after those with the info on the source. Another thing, people using drugs in public (generally homeless addicts) are not going to provide much info, as they won't have it. Go after those in people in the transaction who DO have the info. You want users with more info though?

I may have not been clear in my response to SBSTONER. Low level dealers won't probably have the best info or be willing to give it up, but they are FAR MORE productive than users. Not sure why this is so hard to understand or is so contentious.

sacjon May 24, 2022 12:18 PM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

DOULIE - let me put it an even simpler way: You bust the user (ie, addict high in public) then all you're going to get is the street dealer. Cut out the middle man and just go after the street dealer. He's the guy handing the drugs to the user.

I keep talking about the public, usually homeless addicts because other "users" aren't so easy to find. They're kids at school or in their dorm rooms or people doing coke at a party or something. So, you're really only getting those public users with your strategy. Again, get the dealer if you want some progress.

doulie May 24, 2022 07:46 PM
Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

SAC - I don't see our dialogue as argumentative or contentious. I see this just as a difference of opinion on how to get a person dealing drugs. Who is more likely to have information about a drug dealer than a drug user? I'll guess the cops focus would not be to simply arrest the user but to gather as much info from the user about their source (the dealer), name(s) of other users they know and other illegal activity. I see the user as the foundation that could build up to a major dealer. Use them as an informant. A user/addict can be a wealth of information. How would you legally go after the "street dealer" and arrest them? Watch a location, see one person hand "something" to another? How do you know illegal drugs were bought/sold? With just this information what would be your authority (or the cops) to stop either person or to search them? IMO it's likely more complex than going out on the street and getting a user/dealer. There are many more users running the streets than dealers and I'll guess they're easier to detain/arrest. All the cops have to do is continue looking for them. It can start with a probation/parole officer letting cops know who is in violation of their status or with another user turned informant. Find them on the street, check them (all likely have a search and seizure condition) which permits the stop and search to begin with. The search for information we are discussing begins for other addicts and dealers (if they know). Not just users/dealers but other crimes they are aware of. An addict can be a wealth of information. As you likely know, no one can be stopped without PC. The "kids" at school or in dorms go to parties. One or more will sooner or later be stopped. They, like the other addicts/users have to score from someone. Again, this detention/arrest can lead to the dealer. I'll guess the cops will also try to use this person as an informant to ID those dealing to the "kids at school." This is not to say the 'ol "junkie" on the street won't have this information. How do you learn who is dealing if not mostly through a user?

Please Login or Register to comment on this.