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Prescription Drug Deaths Jump to Record Highs: 273 Deaths in San Diego last year

Ten years after Sandy Nolan's son died of a heroin overdose, drug addiction in San Diego is even worse. Nolan…

Ten years after Sandy Nolan’s son died of a heroin overdose, drug addiction in San Diego is even worse.

Nolan was a prominent speaker on Friday’s unveiling of the county’s annual update on drug-related death trends. She talked tears about her son Jerry’s overdose death in 2008.

Nolan also told parents that it is very difficult to detect the early signs of prescription drug abuse. She advised them to prepare for a long, difficult and sometimes unsuccessful effort to help a loved one to abuse her.

“And if you think recovery is as simple as a 30-day rehab, it’s not,” said Nolan. “My husband and I sent Jerry to rehab four times in a year and a half,” to see him ultimately defeated by his addiction.

In San Diego County, drug mortality increased by 8 percent last year to a total of 273 deaths.

Heroin deaths actually decreased, the synthetic opioid fentanyl killed many more addicts.

According to the drug abuse card, 84 people died from fentanyl overdoses last year compared to 33 deaths in 201


Fentanyl is particularly dangerous, as it is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and at least 25 times stronger than heroin.

The unpredictable strength causes more deaths from accidental overdoses of fentanyl.

Drug users are also in danger of cocaine spiked with fentanyl.

But Friday, Nolan and drug users concentrated on prescription analgesics that they warned for is a gateway to addiction and street drugs.

They urged parents to properly dispose of unused prescription opiates at boxes throughout the county and to benefit from drug withdrawal days, like this one on Saturday.

“There is no reason for someone to die of medications in a medical cabinet that someone is not”, says Scott Silverman in the Safe Home Coalition.

Safe disposal and collection of prescription drugs started in San Diego County 2009 and practice was adopted nationally in 2010. National Drug Take Back Day is October 27th, and you can attend local sheriff’s departmental units.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department has set up a safe drop box at their stations over where prescription drugs can be discarded.

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