The San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) launched a countywide campaign to raise awareness about the unprecedented rise in overdoses and poisonings caused by fentanyl. The campaign will continue throughout the year, with the message “Fentanyl Doesn’t Care. But We Do.” Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It is tasteless, odorless, and too small to see; an amount about the size of two grains of sand can cause an overdose.

“There is a misperception that fentanyl only affects drug addicts when in reality, it’s affecting a broad segment of our community,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Dawn Rowe. “This campaign will help shed light on the reality of the fentanyl crisis and help us save lives.”

This campaign aims to educate the public on the serious dangers of fentanyl, bring awareness to the prevalence in our community and most importantly, equip people with the lifesaving resources available. DBH has partnered with Stop the Void and the INTO LIGHT Project to develop a media campaign that targets geographic areas in the county with a high rate of fentanyl overdoses, with special consideration for young adults and at-risk underserved communities.

The messaging for this campaign is “Fentanyl doesn’t care, but we do. Get the facts at”. Fentanyl doesn’t care that you are a parent, a student, or someone experimenting with drugs for the first time. Fentanyl takes lives with no remorse, but San Bernardino County does care and wants to ensure you have the resources and knowledge to save a life.

“It is important to have these meaningful and timely conversations about the dangers of fentanyl, with your children, friends and loved ones – before it is too late,” said DBH Director Dr. Georgina Yoshioka.

In partnership with Stop the Void and INTO LIGHT, this campaign uses real stories of individuals who lost their life due to a drug overdose. Theresa Clower, Executive Director for INTO LIGHT Project, states “Sharing the stories of the loved ones in this project provides communities the opportunity to talk about the issue of stigma around substance use disorder.”

In October 2022 the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health issued a health advisory to bring attention to the dangers of fentanyl due to a marked increase of overdose deaths in the county. In 2021, there were 354 fentanyl overdose deaths in the county.

Jaime Puerta founded Stop the Void, when his only son Daniel passed away due to Fentanyl Poisoning on April 6, 2020. In the documentary Dead on Arrival, as Jaime recalls the last moments with his son Daniel, he shares “I wish someone had sat me down and had this talk with me, about what fentanyl does to people. I didn’t get that chance. You do.”

Signs of an Overdose
Recognizing the signs of opioid overdose can save a life. Here are some things to look for:

  • Small, constricted “pinpoint pupils”
  • Falling asleep or losing consciousness
  • Slow, weak, or no breathing
  • Choking or gurgling sounds
  • Limp body
  • Cold and/or clammy skin
  • Discolored skin (especially in lips and nails)

DBH will be partnering with the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department and Department of Public Health in the future development of this initiative. The unity of this initiative is imperative to its success. As a priority for San Bernardino County, it is important to expand the reach and resources associated. For more information about this campaign initiative, visit

If you suspect a family member or friend might have a problem with substance use, speak to them about getting help. Treatment can be arranged in different modalities to fit almost any schedule. Counselors will work with you and your family member/friend to design a treatment plan that works for you. When you’re ready, you or your family member/friend can call (800) 968-2636 to reach our Substance Use Disorder Helpline, 24-hours of the day for a free and confidential screening.

Thank you to all the families who contributed their loved one’s story for the purpose of this initiative.

Additional County Update News – June 23, 2023

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