Sheriff Brown and Community Leaders Launch Project Opioid Santa Barbara County

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.


Written by sbsheriff

Press releases written by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

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  1. 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.”

  2. COAST and VOICE – please cite this “open border policy” you keep talking about. Where is it? Just because Tucker Carlson told you it’s a thing, doesn’t mean it is. But please, by all means, show us. Until then, enough with the fabrications please.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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’.

  8. 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.

  9. “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.

  10. Love VOR and CW and their deceitful rhetoric. Start with a false premise, then complain when nobody bothers to follow up on their demands to explain the details of something farcically fanciful that exists only in their alternate reality.

  11. 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.

  12. One of the 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.”

  13. 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.

  14. Curious though, why is fentanyl being added to cocaine? When someone buys coke, they’re doing it with the intention of a stimulant-like high. So, is it being added maliciously or are people asking for coke with fentanyl, like a more intense speedball?

  15. Yeah, let’s just IGNORE the open border policy and clean up the messes it creates on this side… But hey, we’re adding more future democrat voters by the 100’s of Thousands…! It’s all worth it!!

  16. @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.

  17. @165##### To connect someone’s political thoughts (that differ than yours) and somehow equate it to a known mentally disturbed 18 yo is “incediary” and irresponsible… So answer this… WHY the open border policy?

  18. 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:
    But, I bet you won’t read it and will angrily turn on OAN and Fox to hear more of the same.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

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