Eighteen-year-old Alfred Urrea issued a non-guilty plea and is being held on a $1 million bail with a pre-preliminary hearing set for Tuesday. Adrian Alloway, another 18 year old, passed away from a fentanyl overdose at the end of August.
This is the second time San Bernardino County authorities have brought murder charges due to a fentanyl poisoning.
“In cases such as this, where murder is alleged, we believe we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt the dealer knowingly understood the dangers of fentanyl, and still chose profits over human life when supplying drugs to the victim,” District Attorney Jason Anderson said.
Fentanyl is a growing problem, especially among young people across the country.
In California, a 15-year-old girl died after taking a drug she thought was Percocet, but had fentanyl in it, leading to a manslaughter charge for another teen. A 14-year-old Californian also passed away this month following an overdose from drugs contaminated with fentanyl.
“This is a scourge and an epidemic that is going on across the country,” Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said after the 15-year-old’s death. “It is unacceptable, but it is even more unacceptable when it impacts the youth of our community. There is no excuse for that nor is there tolerance for that.”
This month, the California Department of Public Health Director and State Public Health Officer Tomás J. Aragón, released a warning over “brightly-colored fentanyl (referred to as rainbow fentanyl).”
Aragón’s release noted that opioid-related overdose fatalities in Californians ages 10-19 went up 407% from 2018 to 2020, and was “largely driven by fentanyl.” Fentanyl-related overdose fatalities among the same demographic went up 625% from 2018 to 2020.
Schools have responded, with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) providing naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal medication, to its schools. The move impacts almost 1,400 schools — from elementary to high school. School law enforcement officers will also be provided with the reversal medication. The action came after nine teenagers in the district recently overdosed.
“Research shows that the availability of naloxone along with overdose education is effective at decreasing overdoses and death and will save lives,” LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said in a statement last week. “We will do everything in our power to ensure that not another student in our community is a victim to the growing opioid epidemic. Keeping students safe and healthy remains our highest priority.”
Country singer Luke Bell recently passed away from a fentanyl overdose, as well.