Sen. Melendez to Introduce Legislation in January Responding to Surge in Drug Related Deaths

Senator Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, announced today she will be introducing legislation brought forward by constituents whose children had their lives cut short by illicit drugs.

“As the mother of five children, I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose a child to drug poisoning,” said Melendez. “The pandemic and the Governor’s shut down orders have only exasperated the fatalities connected to drugs.”

In recent months, 50% of all drug-related deaths in LA County were connected to fentanyl poisoning. San Francisco is reporting more than 600 people have died so far this year, far outpacing the number of their COVID-19 related deaths. San Francisco has also released data related to approximately 3,000 uses of Narcon – which is used to reverse a drug-induced fatality.

“We are fighting a two-front war against an epidemic that is not going to go away by itself and being exacerbated by drugs,” said Senator Melendez. “It’s time we combat these fatalities by punishing those who knowingly sell fentanyl to unsuspecting buyers.”

On the street, fentanyl is being sold under the disguise of prescription medication such as Xanax, Percocet, and Oxycontin. Users are actually receiving counterfeit pills containing fentanyl which is formulated to be 50 times more potent than heroin. This typically happens without a consumer’s knowledge or consent. One such parent sponsoring the legislation is Matt Capelouto, who tragically lost his daughter, Alexandra, a year ago and will be facing his second Christmas without her.

“The holidays are a very difficult time of year for all parents who have lost a child.” Capelouto said. “It's especially rough for my family because Alex's Angelversary is December 23rd. Introducing this legislation makes December a little brighter, not only for my family, but all the other parents in our organization. All I have to say is, don’t underestimate the resolve of bereaved parents. Many of us have come together and we are ready to fight for change.”

Senator Melendez plans to introduce the legislation in early January.