FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- At the state Capitol, lawmakers have approved a bill that would provide California counties with millions of dollars to create fentanyl prevention campaigns.
Fresno Assemblyman Jim Patterson introduced the bill after successful fentanyl prevention commercials and billboards were launched here in Fresno County.
"We weren't really even talking about fentanyl and now we are," said Fresno Co. Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino. "It seems to be in every conversation we are having."
Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino says the Fentanyl prevention PSAs that have been airing on TV and movie theaters locally were created with the input of students that they are meant to protect.
"What they felt they would look at and listen to," said Yovino.
Patterson hopes other California counties can follow Fresno's example.
Through AB 2356--he's proposing the state spend 3 million dollars to fund six prevention projects across the state.
The money can be used by counties for awareness campaigns on billboards or commercials to educate students, young people, and their parents. Or it can be used to offer additional mental health resources to survivors of fentanyl overdoses before they leave the hospital.
Patterson says the goal is to cut dealers off from the demand by steering teens and young adults away from fentanyl to begin with.
"This is not a drug overdose, this is poisoning and those dealers know it," Patterson said "And we have to get between those dealers and our kids particularly.
District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp says although billboards, commercials and the ABC30 documentary Killer High have brought awareness to the deadly drug, there are still many more people to educate.
"It's starting to really hit home," she said.
The bill will now head to the governor's desk where it needs a signature before becoming law.