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San Diego County To Expand Availability of Naloxone To Prevent Opioid Deaths

 May 21, 2021 at 11:44 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:01 Efforts to make Naloxone more readily available to save lives across the county. It's critical, Speaker 2: 00:06 Especially in the context of fentanyl for community members to have Naloxone on hand Speaker 1: 00:12 I'm Jade Hindman. This is KPBS mid day edition. The office is at stake in Mexico's upcoming election and how that may impact Sandy. There's Speaker 3: 00:31 A very important integration happening here is not only on the economy is tourism is social. There's a lot of family dies plus Speaker 1: 00:43 Things to enjoy on the outdoor arts and culture scene and the weekend preview that's ahead on mid day. Yeah. San Diego county officials today signed a health order that will make the drug overdose reversal medication Naloxone more readily available without a prescription. This follows news that eight inmates at the George Bailey detention facility in OTI Mesa were hospitalized this week after overdosing on the synthetic opiate fentanyl. The powerful drug is responsible for a huge spike in accidental deaths over the last year. According to county medical examiner reports. And joining me now to talk about this is Luke Bergman director of behavioral health services for the county of San Diego. Luke, welcome. Speaker 2: 01:37 Thank you so much. Glad to be here. Speaker 1: 01:39 I want to start by talking about the prevalence of fentanyl in the county and its impact on the number of accidental deaths here. Can you put that prevalence into context for us? I mean, do we know how much fentanyl is circulating in the community? We Speaker 2: 01:54 Unfortunately don't know precisely how much fentanyl is circulating in the community. And it's, it's a difficult thing to discern because fentanyl is so potent that very small amounts of it have very, um, significant impact. And it's very easy, therefore for, uh, dealers of illicit drugs to spread it very far and wide, the best proxy that we have for determining its distribution is in, um, where we find it in overdose, mortality data and overdose death data. Um, and what we're seeing on that front, uh, as you suggest are enormous increases in the, in the, uh, total numbers and in the proportion of overdose deaths that have fentanyl involved. Speaker 1: 02:39 Okay. Will you remind us why fentanyl is so deadly, w Speaker 2: 02:42 It's extremely potent as an opioid. So fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, uh, and, uh, and so acts on the brain in ways that other opioids do like heroin, like oxycodone. Um, it just, uh, acts, uh, much more quickly and much more strongly just to give you some sense for those proportional numbers that I was mentioning, uh, before just this last, uh, February, uh, for example, we had around a hundred overdose deaths in San Diego county, two thirds of those involved fentanyl, uh, this past August, uh, August of 2020, which when we're looking at single months, uh, was the month where we had the most, uh, overdoses during this kind of most recent, uh, uh, uptick. It was, uh, around 60% of all overdose deaths involved, uh, fentanyl. So it really is having a significant impact. Speaker 1: 03:40 Hmm. You know, this announcement today by county officials to make Naloxone more readily available here. Uh, you know, how important could that be to slowing the number of accidental deaths caused by drugs like fentanyl? Speaker 2: 03:53 I think it can be hugely impactful. Um, uh, you know, one of the things, uh, that, that we are wanting to make, especially clear, um, in the context of first responders already carrying Naloxone and administering Naloxone when they come upon overdose, uh, situations is that with fentanyl in the community, death happens quickly. It can happen virtually immediately. It can happen well before a first responder would or would arrive at a scene even if nine 11 were called relatively quickly. So it's critical, especially in the context of fentanyl for community members to have Naloxone on hand. And that's what this standing order does. It will accelerate the distribution of Naloxone through county clinics, and then also through community-based organizations throughout the county. So we can be sure that everybody who thinks they may be interacting with somebody who uses drugs, has Naloxone with them. And it's, uh, it's a, it's a very, um, it's very small comes in, uh, in a, uh, in a very small package. Speaker 2: 05:06 Um, it's extremely easy to use. It just involves, uh, pumping medication into a person's, uh, nasal passage. And so if someone is carrying it and they come upon someone who is in the midst of an overdose, they can save their life. Um, if, uh, if, if somebody knows that they have a family member who is using drugs, even if somebody suspects that they have a family member who's using recreational drugs, it would be important for that person to have Naloxone with them. Because again, we're finding fentanyl all over the place in every illicit, uh, uh, category of drug that we have. Um, and so our hope is to really normalize it. Speaker 1: 05:49 And you've touched on this, but under this new health order, how could someone get access to Naloxone and where can they get it? Speaker 2: 05:56 So in initially it will be made available through, uh, county clinics, uh, county public health clinics, county run, behavioral health clinics. Um, that's our immediate next step, as we put in place, um, distribution through community-based organizations, which we are expediting. So, so that it happens as soon as possible. Um, again, this is medication that will be free. Uh, we, we are being supplied Naloxone through the department of healthcare services at the state as part of their harm reduction program. Speaker 1: 06:29 And so can anyone walk in and get an absolutely absolutely, you know, in a story published yesterday by voice of San Diego, they report on the impact of fentanyl overdoses and the homeless population in San Diego county, 82, homeless San Diego ones have died in the last year of fentanyl overdoses. Uh, what are the challenges of getting Naloxone to this population and it being used to save lives? Speaker 2: 06:54 So it's of course, an especially vulnerable population, the homeless population is on virtually all fronts, uh, people who are chronically homeless, uh, have higher rates of chronic physical illness, higher rates of mental illness. And it's challenging, I think for the chronically homeless population, um, uh, you know, just in, in that it, you know, it is all logistical aspects of life are challenging for the chronically homeless population. We want to make sure that people are keeping this medication with them at all times. And, and just keeping one's belongings together for somebody who is chronically homeless is challenging. So that's a challenge, certainly. Um, on the other hand, uh, you know, as we engage in additional, uh, outreach efforts and engagement efforts, um, in, in our overarching work, um, to address homelessness, Naloxone can be a key ingredient. Um, it's, uh, it can be a really effective tool actually for engaging with people, um, who are using drugs, potentially harmfully, who are homeless, who may be reluctant to engage with homeless outreach workers who may be suspicious of their motivations using Naloxone. Um, as a means for engagement can actually be a really powerful tool in addressing homelessness. Speaker 1: 08:12 I've been speaking with Luke Bergman director of behavioral health services for the county of San Diego, Luke, thank you very much for joining us. Thank you. Appreciate it. It's election time in Mexico and Baja, California, we'll soon get a new governor KPBS reporter. Tonya thorn tells us about some of the candidates and how this election impacts San Diego. Speaker 4: 08:42 Thousands of offices are at stake in Mexico's upcoming election. Almost half of the country will elect new governors. Christian done representative for the more than a party says June 6th will be a historic day for Mexican citizens to go to the polls. Speaker 5: 08:58 This is the largest election in the history of Mexico because it's a concurrent election before local elections were held one year in federal elections. The next for the first time federal and local elections have been combined Speaker 4: 09:13 In Bucca, California, seven candidates are running for governor. Three of them are women. And I filed Fernandez, a Castro. The director of us Mexican studies at UC San Diego says three candidates are currently leading the polls, Speaker 3: 09:26 But the one who is heading the [inaudible] pillar, which is the candidate of, of marina, uh, the party power. And she's currently the mayor of Mexicali Speaker 4: 09:39 Land has been advocating for free drug rehabilitation, increased salaries for police forces and keeping an eye on crime by setting up 10,000 security cameras. Following bill out in the polls, his best candidate, Horta, Hank, Ron, who owns it, the a soccer team Lowe's cholos at the Juana, as well as the largest sports betting company in Mexico. [inaudible] who Speaker 3: 10:02 Is a very controversial figure in Tijuana in the entire Mexico. Speaker 4: 10:06 Hank Ron has been rumored to be a suspect in a variety of money laundering investigations. His campaign message has been about providing security education and development Fernandez. [inaudible] says Hank, Ron may also be taking votes from another top three candidate. Speaker 3: 10:22 People say that he's basically dividing and just limiting the chances of the coalition between pan and pre, uh, who have what a Looper Jones. Dave, a former miss universe originally Speaker 4: 10:36 From [inaudible] Jones doesn't have much political experience, but says, this is to her advantage. As she says, she is a true citizen candidate. She says she wants to create a model state for Baja, California, by creating a transparent government, stopping violence against women and connecting by how California with the rest of the world. But none does. [inaudible] says [inaudible] could well be on its way to have the first woman governor, but voters first need to go out and vote. And Speaker 3: 11:06 Unfortunately back California has a much lower turnout rate or borders than in other states. [inaudible] Speaker 4: 11:14 Says in the last governor election, only 29% of Baja, California anos voted in comparison. 64% of California voters participated in the 2018 gubernatorial election Speaker 5: 11:28 In this election. Our biggest rivals aren't the competing parties. It's getting people to go out and vote and gaining their trust. Speaker 4: 11:36 We asked Mexican citizens at the Sandy Cedar border. If they were participating in the upcoming elections and everyone shared similar sentiments as Brian Contreras, Speaker 5: 11:47 I don't plan on voting every time a new government takes off as everything stays the same. We don't. The change Speaker 4: 11:54 Quanta does works at an Amazon facility in Chula Vista and lives in the Hornet. Putting on does Augusta says this election will have an impact on San Diego. Speaker 3: 12:03 There's a very important integration happening here is not only on the economy is, is tourism is social. There's a lot of familiar. He Speaker 4: 12:14 Says the connection between the us and Mexico hasn't been taken advantage of due to poor government, but this election puts shift that. And Speaker 3: 12:22 What are the personalities will ensure that back California gets it has an order and profits and takes Advanta advantage of being next door to California. Again, the single richest state indigenous Speaker 4: 12:38 The elections will take place on Sunday, June six, the candidate with the most votes will become governor of bark, California on November 1st, Tonya thorn KPBS news, Speaker 6: 12:50 Uh, uh, Speaker 1: 12:54 You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade. Hindman this weekend, the arts take on the great outdoors. We have outdoor dance performances, choral music in a garden setting, a walking tour of art galleries and the symphony breaks in their new outdoor venue. Joining me is KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dickson Evans with the details. Julia. Welcome. Hi Jane. Thanks for having me. Oh, let's start with Dan. So what does San Diego dance theater have to offer? Yeah, yeah. So Speaker 7: 13:24 This performance, this weekend is actually the kickoff to a bigger, a bigger festival called dances in the air Fest, which is a collaboration between St. Nico dance, theater, malice shock dance, and San Diego ballet. And they'll run with more outdoor performances through mid June, but to start, they're performing something called other times, other places on a brand new outdoor stage at arts district Liberty station, it's in the south promenade area. And for this first show, they're bringing together Terry Wilson's 2020 work called words move, which is set to and inspired by poetry like Rumi, Pablo Neruda, and contemporary living writers. And then they're also doing gene Isaacs, Phantom bodies revisited. That was originally a work that Isaac's did years ago centered on the aids pandemic. But Jean Isaacs has tweaked it a little for the COVID era. They're also performing Camela. Some funds purposely accidental a piece and bringing in guest artist and choreographer Resana Tavarez, and she'll perform a brand new work of hers called milonga Mia. Very Speaker 1: 14:32 Nice. San Diego dance theater performs outdoors at arts district Liberty stations, new outdoor stage tonight and Saturday at 6:30 PM and Sunday at 2:30 PM. And next another outdoor performance. This one with choral music. Tell us what the San Diego master Chorale is up on Sunday. Speaker 7: 14:52 Yeah, so this is their first performance with a live audience since early last year. And they'll be performing at the water conservation garden at queen Maka college, which is one of those worth a visit anyway, places I've never seen it in the evening. So that will also be a nice opportunity too. And if you can't make it out, they will produce this as a live stream, but you will have to wait until June. So for this show on Sunday, they're calling it their spring garden concert and the Chorale is performing a handful of works in the shape note, or it's a congregational folk inspired singing tradition. Two of them are kind of nature inspired. Contemporary choral works won by Libby Larsen and one by Greg brown. And they're, book-ending the show with works by contemporary black composers set to the poetry of Langston Hughes. There's one by Andre, J Thomas, and then this piece give as our piece by Rolla Dilworth and the group performed this with their high school honor choir in early 20, 20 Speaker 8: 16:12 [inaudible] Speaker 1: 16:12 That's San Diego master corral with give us our PE say Langston Hughes texts set to music by composer, Rollo Dilworth. The corral will perform outdoors at the water conservation garden on Sunday at 7:00 PM in the visual art world. You're going to walk us through three separate gallery openings happening on Saturday, all within a block of LA Jolla. Let's start with Quint one. Speaker 7: 16:36 Yeah. So Quinn one is by appointment only, and they're opening an exhibition. That's a single work by San Diego artists, Peter [inaudible], and this works called heart song. And it is huge. It's kind of a swirl of celestial star scape, a bunch of color and light, and that one opens Saturday, but is only on view through June 19th and Speaker 1: 17:00 Quinn gallery recently moved their main space to Gerard avenue in LA Jolla to what, what are they opening there? Speaker 7: 17:06 It's just a quick walk. It gets you to the main Quint gallery about a block away. And Kelsey bricks is opening a solo exhibition there with 13 of his paintings and sculptures. These are all science inspired and kind of psychedelic and the works they picked pull from a bunch of his recent series. So it's kind of like a survey exhibition of Kelsey Berk's work. And the main gallery has open hours of 11 to four on Saturday. And you don't need an appointment for that one. And Speaker 1: 17:35 One more, some photography next door. Speaker 7: 17:38 Yeah, neighboring gallery, the Joseph bellows gallery. They're opening new solo photography works by Michael mono and he's photographed the facades of buildings around San Diego. Lot of industrial facades and national city, a lot of retro and mid-century stuff. It's all in this eerie black and white silver gelatin format and gallery hours. There are by appointment. Okay. That's Speaker 1: 18:02 Three exhibitions at Quint gallery Quint one and Joseph bellows gallery. And they all open on Saturday in a one block radius of LA Jolla. And finally, the symphony performs its first concert from their new outdoor venue, which was just officially named the Rady show at Jacobs park. Tell us about this. Speaker 7: 18:21 Yeah, this one, it's a virtual show for the audience, but it will be nice to see the symphony performing for the first time in the long awaited shell Raphael PRA will conduct the orchestra and they'll play Wagner is Siegfried idol piece, which is really sweeping and elegant kind of a sublime feeling. And then they're also doing a Mozart symphony, the Jupiter symphony, which is really bright and Speaker 1: 18:45 The symphony will stream their concert called what's that sound first music from the shell tonight at 7:00 PM. I've been speaking with KPBS arts editor, Julia Dixon Evans, for details on all of these and more arts events or to sign up for Julius weekly KPBS arts newsletter go to Julia, thank you so much. Speaker 7: 19:08 Thank you, Jane. Have a great weekend. You too. Speaker 8: 19:45 [inaudible].

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San Diego County is taking steps to make the drug overdose reversal medication, Naloxone (Narcan), more readily available without a prescription. Plus, it’s election time in Mexico, and Baja California will soon get a new governor. A look at some of the candidates and how this election impacts San Diego. And our weekend arts picks include outdoor performances by San Diego Dance Theater and SD Master Chorale, only a week remains to view an exhibition by Lux Art Institute’s regional artist, A Spring Garden concert at The Shell and Coronado Playhouse presents, "Constellations."