Inland Empire Law Enforcement Agencies Announce “Death in Disguise” Fentanyl Campaign

Carmela Karcher

Fentanyl: death in disguise.

“The days of experimentation and recreational drug use, those days are over,” Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said.

Early Thursday, law enforcement officials from across the Inland Empire met in Riverside to announce their new campaign to highlight the dangers of this deadly drug.

“Fentanyl poisoning is now the number one source of death for people between the ages of 18 and 45,” United States Attorney Martin Estrada explained. “In the seven county area that my office serves, fentanyl in just three years has increased in number of deaths four times.”

The campaign “Death in Disguise” is meant to provide education and build awareness with the hopes to immediately reduce this threat in the community.

“We are empowering people with knowledge about fentanyl, what it is, what it does to the body and where it is in the illicit drug supply chain so they can make better decisions about their personal drug use,” Drug Enforcement Administration Los Angeles Division Special Agent Bill Bodner shared.

And the campaign has a specific target for young adults.

“It is imperative that we educate the public generally, but also our youth,” Estrada continued. “Fentanyl poisonings occur because someone thought they were buying a different type of drug or pharmaceutical and instead got something laced with fentanyl that resulted in their death.”

Victims Of Illicit Drugs Founding Member Steve Filson spoke to ingrain the message that this crisis is very much real and is very much impacting our community.

That’s because Filson knows that pain all too well.

“This past Sunday marked three years since my wife found our daughter Jessica and her boyfriend Nicholas dead at their home in the city of Redlands,” Filson said tearily. “They chose to use cocaine to celebrate Nick’s birthday. The product they purchased, unknown to them, contained fentanyl. They partied and didn’t wake up. The effects of her death will linger forever.”

Now, the goal is to get this message spread to keep our community safe.

“Have a conversation with them today,” Hestrin said. “Don’t put it off. Tell them the truth about the dangers they face.”

“There’s much left to do, and we’re here to fight this seemingly endless battle alongside you,” Filson said.

For the campaign video, click here.

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