This letter is to inform you about the increased availability of fentanyl as an
ongoing threat to public health and safety. In 2019, there were 13 fentanyl related overdose deaths in Marin County, more than all prior years combined.
Similar increases are being seen regionally.
Fentanyl is an opioid drug that is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine
and 40 to 50 times more potent than heroin. Some fentanyl overdoses occur
among people who are aware that they are using fentanyl. However, an
increasing number of fentanyl overdoses occur among persons using other
substances, including cocaine, methamphetamine and counterfeit pills
resembling Percocet, Xanax and others.
Overdose victims may have been unaware of the emergence of fentanyl laced compounds in the Bay Area drug supply and of the powerful potency of
fentanyl. In Marin County, most people who died from fentanyl overdoses had
ingested multiple substances. Alcohol, cannabis, stimulants and other
sedatives are commonly found in toxicology reports related to fentanyl
Counterfeit Percocet containing fentanyl
How You Can Help:
1. Talk with your children and alert them to the current risk. Remind them to
only take pharmaceutical pills prescribed by their physician, and only take
them as directed. Do not share or sell medicines and do not buy medications
not prescribed to them. When in doubt about a pharmaceutical, reach out and
ask your doctor.
2. If you think a loved one is experiencing challenges with substance misuse
and abuse contact the 24/7 Mental Health and Substance Use Access and
Assessment Hotline (888-818-1115). Additional resources in different
languages can be found at www.MarinHHS.org/Substance-Use-Services.
3. Clean out your medicine cabinet regularly. Dispose of unused and expired
medications at one of Marin County’s safe disposal locations. Visit
www.RxSafeMarin.org to find a location near you.
4. If you’re concerned someone in your life may be at risk for an opioid
overdose, carry the overdose reversal medication naloxone (Narcan). Narcan
is available without a physician prescription at most pharmacies in Marin. In
the next couple of months RxSafe Marin will be hosting free community
naloxone trainings. Email RxSafeMarin@gmail.com for training updates.
Thank you for joining us to protect our community.
Matthew Willis, MD, MPH
Public Health Officer
Mary Jane Burke
Marin County Superintendent of Schools