The parent organization Victims of Illicit Drugs (VOID), who speaks on behalf of their loved ones who can no longer speak for themselves, is asking parents across California to sign a petition asking the legislature to increase penalties to deter traffickers from poisoning kids with fentanyl. The petition was launched at a press conference hosted by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris who is authoring Assembly Bill 2246 and Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes, the sponsor of the legislation seeking to appropriately align penalties for fentanyl trafficking and cut this deadly drug off at its source.

Jaime Puerta, the President of VOID said, “Far too many children, exactly like my 16 year old son Daniel, are being deceived to death by these nefarious actors who knowingly and willingly peddle this poison disguised as pharmaceutical grade trademarked pills to unsuspecting children and they’re getting away with Murder. AB2246 addresses the need in keeping these Murderers accountable for their actions.”

Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, AB 2246 author said, “Here in California, more than 10 Californians die because of fentanyl every single day. But remember that these are not just numbers and statistics. These are real human lives that have been lost. I have introduced AB 2246 to target traffickers who are responsible for the fentanyl crisis. We must ensure that those profiting from fentanyl know that there are consequences to poisoning our children, and know that the punishment will fit the crime.”

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said, “AB 2246 is the right solution to help California address the fentanyl crisis. Those profiting from our children by illicitly selling this deadly substance must be held accountable and face a consequence commiserate with their crimes. This legislation will make it clear that Californians are committed to keeping fentanyl out of our communities.”

Orange County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Al Mijares also spoke to the crisis, “Fentanyl is cutting short the lives of our children and devastating the communities that are left behind to pick up the pieces. As the Orange County Department of Education continues its work with local school districts to expand mental health supports and services for students across the county, it is time that we also hold responsible those who are putting this deadly drug into the hands of our children.”

Two disturbing trends have dramatically escalated the dangers of fentanyl: the deceptive use of fentanyl in counterfeit pills and the use of social media to traffic illicit substances to young people.

AB 2246 proposes to address this crisis in several ways. It establishes 20 years to life as the penalty for the distribution of fentanyl resulting in death. Currently, possession of fentanyl is a mere misdemeanor offense and requires just a citation and subsequent release. AB 2246 proposes to establish possession of 2 or more grams of fentanyl as a felony. Current law also establishes special penalties for selling drugs like heroin and cocaine in the vicinity of young people, such as around schools or playgrounds. This bill proposes to add fentanyl to that list. Fourth, to combat the increase in fentanyl distribution on social media, AB 2246 enhances the penalty for illegally selling fentanyl online. Finally, this bill properly aligns fentanyl analogs as a schedule I drug. Fentanyl analogs are illicitly manufactured chemical replicas of fentanyl. Importantly, as actual fentanyl does have medical uses, this bill does not change its standing as a schedule II drug.

VOID | Victims Of Illicit Drugs (stopthevoid.org) also highlighted a documentary produced by Dominic Tierno and Christine Wood that is being used nationwide by the United State Drug Enforcement Administration, Sheriff’s Departments, as well as Federal and private entities to educate the school children and the public about the dangers of fentanyl, watch it online in English and in Spanish.

AB 2246 will be heard by the Assembly Public Safety Committee in April.

This article was released by the Office of Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris.
Published in the Orange County Breeze.

Dead on Arrival by Dominic Tierno

Available in English and Spanish. Free distribution.

Dr. Jessica Rodriguez
LAADC-S, ICAADC, MAC, SUDCCIV-CS, BSP, CTRTC, CIP, CTP, CTS, FSS

Dr. Rodriguez was named the Executive Director of Gateway Corp in 2012.  Gateway Corp was developed as a non-profit, public charity and founded October 27, 2011. November 2014, she developed a clinical hub for Gateway Corp called OnSite Strategies. OnSite is also a United States Trademark.

She has held the position of CEO, Clinical Director, Lead Educator and Clinical Trainer as well as the Clinical Business Developer. She has fulfilled the roles of a clinical consultant, professional development consultant and has clinically supervised many SUD/addiction counselors, mental health professionals and addiction and family interventionists for over 12 years.

She has been active in the mental health field since 1995. She has also clinically trained throughout the US and provides clinical oversight for several organizations in California.

Dr. Rodriguez released her first book, “When the Rainbow Ends a Shadow from Heaven Appears" in 2017.” Her newest book, "The Cart, From Adversity to Collateral Beauty" is scheduled to be released in the Fall of 2022.

Dr. Rodriguez is currently a writer for Rapporteur Magazine. Her focus is about Mental Wellness also covered topics to include ACE's, trauma, anxiety, and Systemic Racism.

Adriana Popescu, Ph.D.

Dr. Adriana Popescu is a licensed clinical psychologist and empowerment coach with over 25 years of experience in the mental health field. She specializes in treating addictions and trauma, and has directed a number of treatment programs in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the Founder and CEO of Firebird Healing, a trauma healing program, and the Clinical Director at Avery Lane, an innovative and holistic treatment program for women with co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders and trauma.

Adriana has contributed to a number of books, including TJ Woodward's Conscious Being Workbook, the Conscious Recovery for Addiction and Conscious Recovery for Mental Health Workbooks, and the Conscious Creation Workbook, all of which she co-authored with him.

She has a private practice in San Francisco and travels around the world speaking, coaching, and facilitating transformational and empowering workshops. She also hosts a fascinating podcast called Kaleidoscope of Possibilities – Alternative Perspectives on Mental Health.

Adriana loves to bring the most innovative and effective tools to her work, empowering people to overcome their imagined limitations, release their self-judgments, and discover the brilliance within – creating a life of infinite possibilities.

Her first book, “What If You’re Not as F*cked Up As You Think”, was released in October.

Aven Armstrong-Sutton, Ph.D(c), RSW

Clinical Services Manager at Kinark Child and Family Services

Aven L. Armstrong-Sutton has been a practicing licensed social worker for over a decade. With diverse experience in settings such as health promotion, foster care, youth homelessness, outpatient mental health & addictions, and student support services, Aven currently serves as a Clinical Services Manager at Kinark Child and Family Services, managing a Live-In-Treatment Program and three outpatient treatment programs. Maintaining a part-time private practice, Aven’s multidisciplinary and integrative approach focuses on trauma and resilience among under-served communities.

June Price Tangney, Ph.D

Dr. Tangney received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UCLA. She is currently University Professor and Professor of Psychology at George Mason. She is a Recipient of International Society for Self and Identity’s Distinguished Lifetime Career Award and Fellow of the Association of Psychological Science and of APA’s Division of Personality and Social Psychology.

Dr. Tangney is coauthor (with Ronda Dearing) of Shame and Guilt, coeditor (with Ronda Dearing) of Shame in the Therapy Hour, coeditor (with Jess Tracy and Richard Robins) of The self-conscious emotions: Theory and research, and coeditor (with Mark Leary) of the Handbook of Self and Identity. She has served as Associate Editor for Self and Identity, Consulting Editor for Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Psychological Assessment, Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, and Journal of Personality, and is currently Associate Editor of American Psychologist.

Her research on the development and implications of moral emotions has been funded by NIDA, NICHD, NSF, and the John Templeton Foundation. Currently, her work focuses on moral emotions among incarcerated offenders. She draws on theory and research in psychology and criminology to develop novel interventions that leverage inmates’ moral emotions and prosocial values. A recipient of GMU’s Teaching Excellence Award, Dr. Tangney strives to integrate service, teaching and clinically-relevant research in both the classroom and her lab.

Christina Veselak, MS, LMFT, CN

Founder and Director of the Academy for Addiction and Mental Health Nutrition

Christina T. Veselak, MS, LMFT, CN, is the founder and director of the Academy for Addiction and Mental Health Nutrition, which teaches practitioners around the world how to use diet, along with amino acid and nutrient therapy, to help prevent cravings and recurrent drug use. She has been a licensed psychotherapist working in the SUD treatment field since 1985 and a certified nutritionist specializing in mental health and addiction recovery since 1993.

Sean Bezdek, LMFT, MBA

Sean is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over 25 years of experience working in mental health and substance abuse settings, in inpatient, PHP, and private practice. He holds b a master’s degree in Marital and Family Therapy from Philips Institute and an MBA from Baker College.

Sean’s clinical practice has specialized in working with Personality Disorders, Couples, Adolescents, and individual suffering from chronic mental illness. As a clinician Sean enjoys working with clients who can be resistant to traditional treatment and believes in the philosophy of “You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink. BUT you can feed them saltines to make them thirsty!”

Sean is the Program Director for Akua Mind Body’s Sacramento inpatient mental health program. His prior leadership experience includes oversight of acute inpatient, utilization management, hospice/palliative care, home health and skilled nursing. Sean’s approach to management is to ensure the work that needs to get done gets done. “Our job is patient care. This include everything from making coffee to running groups. There is not one person who is more important that the other when it comes to providing exceptional care to the clients we serve.”