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Gavin Newsom Has No Clue How to Solve California’s Fentanyl Crisis

In typical Gavin Newsom style, the governor continues to offer band aid solutions to California’s ills rather than treat the disease. 

Gavin Newsom. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Governor Gavin Newsom speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. Image Credit: Gage Skidmore.

Gavin Newsom Needs to Address This Problem: California has a drug problem

In just three years, between 2019 and 2021, California’s opioid-related deaths spiked 121%, according to the state’s health department. The vast majority of these deaths were linked to fentanyl, an extremely potent synthetic opioid.

In 2021 in California, there were 7,175 deaths related to any opioid overdose and approximately 83% of those were fentanyl related. 

There were 21,016 ER visits due to opioid overdose and 14,777,578 prescriptions written for opioids in the same year. That’s right. Almost 38% of California’s are hopped on pain meds. Legally. 

Health Care or Foreign Policy? 

Addressing the health care crisis in this country would require an entire overhaul of the medical system and, I would argue, a different definition of “health” than what western medicine has continued to promulgate. 

However, the fentanyl crisis is more a matter of foreign policy than healthcare. 

Sick members of society, whether it be physical or mental discomfort, will always seek some sort of substance to alter their state and alleviate their pain. Behavioral change, therapeutic healing practices, or NMI’s (non-medical interventions) are the only alternative, but no one can force that on people nor are these an option for everyone. 

Indeed, pharmaceutical fentanyl has long neen prescribed to treat severe pain. 

However, the fentanyl plaguing the Golden State’s streets, usually in combination with other illicit drugs, even marijuana, doesn’t have to be the drug du jour. Drugs and addiction will continue to plague society as long as humans live, but fentanyl has upped the ante to almost an inevitable death. 

The problem is fentanyl is easily entering this country and Governor Gavin Newsom, as with most of his policies, has a very skewed perspective on what is happening in his once great state.  

Gavin Newsom Offers Band-Aids, Not Solutions

In typical Gavin Newsom style, the governor continues to offer band aid solutions to California’s ills rather than treat the disease. 

Since taking office in 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom and his administration have spent more than $1 billion in an attempt to reign in the opioid and fentanyl epidemic. About half of that money has come from the federal government, which provides money for prevention, treatment, and recovery services.

The state has allocated $416 million from its own general fund, which has been primarily used for medication-assisted treatments for people with opioid use disorders and to purchase naloxone, opioid overdose reversal drug. Never mind where the remainder of the money comes from. That is deserving of a piece all its own. Hint: It’s the very hand that helps feed the opioid addiction. 

Overall, $79 million of Newsom’s plan goes to the Naloxone Distribution Project to meet increased demand and provide more Naloxone to communities. Almost a tenth of the budget is dedicated in some way, shape, or form, to purchase and produce more drugs to counter a drug crisis. 

The Tale of Two Governors

Ron DeSantis’s approach seems to be more worthy of the crime that transporting fentanyl into the country is. Yes, borders should be tightened but DeSantis advocates going after, prosecuting, and using deadly force, if necessary, against members of the drug cartels in Mexico responsible for transporting the drugs across the border. This seems to me a more effective, not to mention efficient cure. It cuts the supply off at the source. 

As the presidential hopeful has said in multiple interviews since the first time he proclaimed his solution to illegal immigrants brining drugs across the border at a town hall in New Hampshire earlier this summer:  

“If these cartels are breaking into a wall and cutting a piece out of the wall and moving product in, that’s going to be the last thing that those people have ever done because they’re going to end up stone-cold dead.” 

This seems like a logical preventative measure, at least one that attempts to prevent the flow of this deadly drug into the country by sending a clear message to its suppliers. 

“If somebody were breaking into your house to do something bad, you would respond with force. Yet why don’t we do that at the Southern border?”

Good question.

Newsom’s plan does allocate $30 million to expand California National Guard’s work to prevent drug-trafficking transnational criminal organizations. Yet, this seems like a drop in the bucket compared to what is necessary. Seeing the devastation in his own communities, why isn’t he decrying the liberal border policies and demanding tighter security and enforcement at our southern border? 

True, the illegal drug trade is like the seven headed serpent. You cut off one head, another is likely to spring up in its place. However, spending millions of dollars in Naloxone to try to save lives of drug addicts, while admirable, seems like an even less efficient long-term solution. 

It’s like any other disease. You can either treat symptoms for a lifetime or attempt to find a cure.

Jennifer Galardi is the politics and culture editor for 19Fortyfive. She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and produces and hosts the podcast Connection with conversations that address health, culture, politics, and policy. In a previous life, she wrote for publications in the healthfitness, and nutrition space. In addition, her pieces have been published in the Epoch Times and Pepperdine Policy Review. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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Written By

Jennifer Galardi is the politics and culture editor for She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and produces and hosts the podcast Connection with conversations that address health, culture, politics and policy. In a previous life, she wrote for publications in the health, fitness, and nutrition space. In addition, her pieces have been published in the Epoch Times and Pepperdine Policy Review. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.