Sheriff Bianco Supports Legislation to Combat Opioid Crisis

Opioid Crisis Gets Attention of Sheriff Bianco

Sheriff Chad Bianco

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco is giving his full-throated support to a bill that would save lives in the face of the county’s ongoing opioid crisis. Sheriff Bianco is co-sponsoring Senate Bill 641, introduced by California State Senator Richard D. Roth, D-Riverside.

This bill will ensure that all FDA-approved formulations and dosage strengths of naloxone, like Narcan® and Kloxxado®, are made available to schools, local health agencies, law enforcement, first responders, and community organizations across California for free. The Naloxone Distribution Project (NDP) is administered by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).

“Our first priority is to save lives,” Bianco said in a statement. “Providing stronger naloxone is a first step. It allows our deputies to take quick action in a matter of life and death.”

Riverside County has had more than 1,000 deaths from opioid overdoses within the past two years, a majority stemming from fentanyl. The DHCS study “The Overdose Crisis in California: 2017-2021” reports that there were 11,361 opioid overdose deaths in California during this period, with synthetic opioids accounting for 73% of opioid-related deaths in 2020.

Additionally, the study found that certain populations, such as Black and Latino individuals, experienced higher rates of opioid-related deaths than the general population. By expanding access to higher dosed naloxone products, this bill has the potential to save countless lives and helps address the devastating impact of opioid addiction on California communities.

“Late last year, after several failed attempts to get the state’s NDP to supply our deputies with additional life-saving tools, I authorized our deputies to administer an FDA-approved 8mg naloxone product,” Bianco said. “To date, our deputies have used this product more than 45 times and, in all cases, the recipient survived. It is time for the state’s NDP to recognize that synthetic opioids are evolving and becoming more potent. The time for action is now.”

Image Sources

  • Sheriff Chad Bianco: Sheriff Chad Bianco
  • Opioid: Shutterstock