Ron Freitas
District Attorney

The U.S. overdose crisis has reached a devastating new height with more than 100,000 people dying over the last year from drug overdoses.

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District Attorney Ron Freitas Warns About the Dangers of Fentanyl Use in San Joaquin County

One Pill Can Kill - Pill SamplesData from San Joaquin County shows that 48 people died from fentanyl overdoses in 2021. The fentanyl overdose death rate in 2021 was 20 times higher than in 2018. Over half the victims were between 14-35 years old. The trend of fentanyl deaths among young people are a result of the substance being found in false prescription painkillers bought off the street. Because of fentanyl’s highly addictive nature, it’s become popular among illegal drug manufacturers.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. It is often mixed with other drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, without the user's knowledge. This can lead to accidental overdoses.

There are two types of fentanyl: pharmaceutical fentanyl and illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Both are considered synthetic opioids. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is prescribed by doctors to treat severe pain, especially after surgery and for advanced-stage cancer.

However, most recent cases of fentanyl-related overdose are linked to illicitly manufactured fentanyl, which is distributed through illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effect. It is often added to other drugs because of its extreme potency, which makes drugs cheaper, more powerful, more addictive, and more dangerous.

The opioid epidemic has had a devastating impact on individuals, families, and communities in San Joaquin County, and the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office is working to address this crisis. This includes increasing access to addiction treatment and overdose prevention resources, as well as increasing public awareness about the dangers of opioids, including fentanyl.

The signs of a fentanyl overdose include:

  • Small, constricted pupils
  • Falling asleep or losing consciousness
  • Slow, weak, or no breathing
  • Choking or gurgling sounds
  • Limp body
  • Cold and/or clammy skin
  • Discolored skin, especially lips and nails

If you suspect someone has overdosed on fentanyl, call 911 immediately. Do not attempt to wake them up or give them anything to eat or drink.

If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, please reach out for help. You can find a number of resources available to help you get the support you need with the San Joaquin County Department of Public Health. Some of the programs it offers include:

  • Naloxone training: Naloxone is a medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The department offers free training to anyone who wants to learn how to use it.
  • Medication-assisted treatment: This type of treatment combines medication with counseling to help people recover from opioid addiction. The department offers a number of medication-assisted treatment programs.
  • Support groups: There are a number of support groups available for people who are struggling with opioid addiction and their loved ones. The department offers a list of support groups on its website.

OPCK-NarcanThe "One Pill Can Kill" campaign, initiated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), is an awareness initiative designed to inform the public about the dangers of fentanyl-laced counterfeit prescription pills. Fentanyl, as mentioned earlier, is a powerful synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times more potent than morphine. Counterfeit pills containing fentanyl can closely resemble legitimate prescription medications, making it difficult for users to identify the lethal drug.

District Attorney Ron Freitas and the Office of the District Attorney wholeheartedly support these efforts given the effects of opioid addiction in San Joaquin County.

The campaign's primary goals are to:

  • Educate the public: By raising awareness of the dangers of counterfeit pills and their potential to contain lethal doses of fentanyl, the DEA hopes to reduce the number of overdoses and save lives. The "One Pill Can Kill" message is a stark reminder of the potentially fatal consequences of consuming these drugs.
  • Encourage safe practices: The campaign aims to promote harm reduction by encouraging individuals to avoid purchasing prescription medications from illegal sources, such as street dealers or unregulated online pharmacies, where counterfeit pills are more likely to be found.
  • Support law enforcement efforts: The campaign also serves to highlight the ongoing efforts of law enforcement to combat the trafficking and distribution of counterfeit pills and other fentanyl-related substances.

Visit the DEA One Pill Can Kill page for further information.


Recognize the Signs of Opioid Overdose

  • Small, constricted "pinpoint pupils"
  • Falling asleep or losing consciousness
  • Slow, weak, or no breathing
  • Choking or gurgling sounds
  • Limp body
  • Cold and/or clammy skin
  • Discolored skin, especially lips and nails

If You Think Someone is Overdosing

It can be hard to tell if a person is high or experiencing an overdose. Not sure? Treat it like an overdose-you could save a life.

  • Call 911 Immediately.*
  • Administer Naloxone if available.**
  • Keep the person awake and breathing.
  • Lay the person on their side to prevent choking.
  • Stay with the person until Emergency assistance arrives.

*California law protects a person overdosing and the person who called for help from legal trouble.

**Naloxone is a life-saving medication to reverse the effects of opioid overdose and save lives. It is available free to the public at San Joaquin Public Health Services.

List Courtesy of San Joaquin County Public Health Services

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for substance use disorder is daily or several times weekly treatment with FDA-approved medications. MAT safely reduces opioid craving and withdrawal in people suffering from Opiod Use Disorder. Services that provide both MAT and counseling have been shown to be more effective in treating Opioid Use Disorder than abstinence-only programs.

The State of California’s website allows you to search for MAT providers by zip code.

Withdrawal Management (Detox)

Recovery House
500 W. Hospital Rd. French Camp, CA 95231
(209) 468-6857

St. Joseph’s Behavioral Health Center
Chemical Recovery Program - Substance Abuse Medical Detox Center
2510 N. California St. Stockton, CA 95204
(209) 461-2000

Adolescent Treatment Services

Community Medical Centers- California Pediatrics Clinic
Youth and Adolescent (youth to 17)
2349 N. California St. Stockton, CA 95204
(209) 940-5662

Residential Treatment

Family Ties
500 W. Hospital Rd. French Camp, CA 95231
(209) 468-6208

Recovery House
500 W. Hospital Rd. French Camp, CA 95231
(209) 468-6857

Native Directions, Inc.
Three Rivers Indian Lodge
13505 Union Rd. Manteca, CA 95336
(209) 858-2421

Adult Outpatient Treatment

Adventist Health Lodi Memorial
975 South Fairmont Ave. Lodi, CA 95240
(209) 333-5156

Aegis Treatment Centers – Stockton
8626 N. Lower Sacramento Rd., Suite #41 Stockton, CA 95209
(209) 478-2487

Aegis Treatment Centers – Stockton
1947 N. California St., Suites B and C Stockton, CA 95204
(209) 463-0870

Aegis Treatment Centers – Stockton 5th St.
1839 S. El Dorado St. Stockton, CA 95206
(209) 463-0872

Aegis Treatment Centers – Lodi
441 S. Ham Ln., Suite A & B Lodi, CA 95242
(209) 224-8940

Aegis Treatment Centers – Manteca
955 W. Center St., Suites 12A & 14 Manteca, CA 95337
(209) 239-9600

Aegis Treatment Centers – Tracy
1450 Bessie Ave Suite B, Tracy, CA 95376

Chemical Dependency Counseling Center
620 N. Aurora St., Suite #1 Stockton, CA 95202
(209) 468-3720

Community Medical Centers (CMC), Recovery Center
Stockton Waterloo Recovery Center
1031 Waterloo Rd. Stockton, CA 95205
(209) 940-5662

Community Medical Centers (CMC), Recovery Center
Tracy Central Recovery Center
730 N. Central Avenue Tracy, CA 95376
(209) 650-4050

Community Medical Centers (CMC) Manteca
2000 Cottage Ave. Manteca, CA 95336
(209) 940-5662

Kaiser Lathrop Mental Health and Wellness Center
Addiction Medicine Recovery Services
17000 S. Harlan Rd. Lathrop, CA 95330
(858) 268-4096

1111 N. El Dorado St. Stockton, CA 95202
(209) 938-0228

San Joaquin General Hospital
500 W. Hospital Rd. French Camp, CA 95231
(209) 468-6820

St. Joseph’s Behavioral Health Center
Chemical Recovery Program - Substance Abuse Outpatient Programs
510 E. Magnolia St., Suite 100 Stockton, CA 95202
(209) 938-0831

Telemedicine for Opioid Use Disorder

Bright Heart Health
(844) 884-4474

TeleWell Behavioral Medicine Program
Indian Health Program MAT Project
(916) 689-1062

OPCK-NarcanNaloxone (Narcan) is a medication used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Opioids are drugs that can include prescription painkillers, like oxycodone and hydrocodone, as well as illegal drugs like heroin and fentanyl.

Narcan works by binding to the same receptors in the brain that opioids bind to, and it can quickly block their effects, reversing an overdose. Narcan can be administered as an injection into a muscle or vein, or as a nasal spray.

Narcan is a life-saving medication that has become increasingly important as opioid overdose rates have risen in recent years. It is used by emergency responders, healthcare providers, and others to quickly respond to an opioid overdose and prevent a potentially fatal outcome.

Trained and equipped bystanders such as friends, family and other non-health care providers and drug users themselves can effectively respond and reverse an opioid overdose.

Naloxone is available without a prescription at participating pharmacies in California. It may be covered by your insurance or can be purchased with cash. Check with your insurance carrier for details.

Naloxone is available at no-cost through:

San Joaquin County Public Health Services
420 S. Wilson Way
Stockton, CA 95205

Phone: (209) 953-7309

Stockton Harm Reduction Program
On St. near 411 S. Harrison St.
Stockton, CA 95205
Phone: (209) 268-0779

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