Fentanyl overdose prevention event faces roadblock at Sanger City Hall

Alyssa Flores Image
Friday, November 4, 2022
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Permit problems are stalling efforts by a local church to hold a fentanyl awareness and prevention event this weekend at Sanger City Park.

SANGER, Calif. (KFSN) -- Ofie Moreno didn't have the overdose-reversing drug Narcan in her home when her 20-year-old son Sebastian died from fentanyl. Now, she wants to make sure other families do.

"If we had Narcan, we could have saved him," she said.

She and her husband have joined Pastor Paul Zavala from Time in Destiny Church in his mission to distribute Narcan and educate families on how to administer it.

Pastor Paul recently acquired hundreds of donated doses and filed an event permit to hold a fentanyl prevention and Narcan distribution event at Sanger City Park. He, along with the motorcycle ministry Warrior of Faith, hoped to hold the event immediately after the Veteran's Parade to draw in as many people as possible, followed by a motorcycle ride.

But organizers came to a roadblock. The event permit was filed 11 days before the event. City policy requires applicants to give a 30-day notice.

"Staff initially responded to the applicant that we just don't have enough time to look at it," said Sanger City Manager Tim Chapa.

Chapa says organizers were provided with alternate dates, but some say it's a cause that can't wait.

"Is there an urgency? Yes. Because every week, kids are dying of fentanyl," said Pastor Zavala.

Sanger resident Kim Stidham lost her 20-year-old son Alijah to a fentanyl overdose 13 days ago.

"He had a lot of trauma and he just wanted to be numb. So he took it and he became numb forever," she said. "Had someone had a Narcan on them, maybe they could have saved him. Maybe he wouldn't have died alone. Maybe there would have been a second chance for him."

Dozens of community members came out to City Hall Thursday hoping to get their event permit approved after all.

"We are hoping they make an exception due to the epidemic and the problem, the severeness of the problem," said Pastor Zavala.

Sanger's mayor called a special meeting to decide on the event permit, but there weren't enough members present to take a vote after councilmember Michael Montelongo recused himself.

"One of the options we offered to them is to hold the training at the church and then they could still do the motorcycle portion at the park," said Chapa.

Time in Destiny and Warrior of Faith will now host the event at their church at 325 L St. at 1 pm November 5. There will be Narcan training, distribution and live testimonies.

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