BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) —House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy met with Kern County leaders Wednesday to address the national fentanyl crisis and its deadly impact on families here at home.

It was a round table discussion behind closed doors with agencies like the FBI, Bakersfield Police, and Kern County Superintendent of Schools. The goal was to come up with ways to protect the population from fentanyl.

County leaders came together to tackle the fentanyl crisis here in Kern. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy led the conversation.

“One pill can kill and don’t think it’s happening to somebody else, it could be happening in your own family,” McCarthy said. “It’s being laced in every form. It’s an epidemic.”

Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer said the crisis only continues to grow worse.
She says over the last five years there’s been a 12 times increase in cases of people caught possessing fentanyl.

“Today 300 Americans will be poisoned and die from fentanyl. That’s the equivalent of an airline jet coming down but it’ll also happen tomorrow and the next and the next,” McCarthy said. “If an airline crashed day after day the entire country would say there is a crisis. Well, there is a crisis right now.”

Bakersfield Police Department announced rainbow fentanyl is a new form of the deadly drug specifically targeting your kids. The department gave a warning to parents leading up to this year’s Halloween season.

“They’re disguising it to look like skittles, sweet tarts, candy and things of that nature. They’re even packaging it in candy wrappers,” Daniel McAfee an officer with the Bakersfield Police Department said. Make sure you’re paying really close attention to what your kids have in their buckets or their little things they have candy in.”

Kern County Superintendent of Schools Mary Barlow and Bakersfield City School District Superintendent Mark Luque were at the meeting.

They spoke about opioids within schools, Narcan training for staff members, and the plan moving forward.

The school officials acknowledged opioids within Kern schools. Luque said they’ve taken proactive measures as seen recently with the drug bust at Chipman Junior High School. In that case, he says the drugs were taken before anything was distributed.

“School is one of the safest places in our community but let’s face it there is no safe place where fentanyl and other drugs will not be introduced to students and other children. That’s the fact of our current society,” Barlow said.

School officials have warned parents about children communicating with drug dealers through social media apps like Snapchat. Luque said especially now parents need to be aware of what is on their children’s phones and who they are talking with.

“I urge our parents, parents across Kern County to understand that this device here,” Luque said. “Albeit convenient as use as a cellphone is one of the greatest dangers posing risks to our children.”

As of now, North High is the only school that has said it will allow students to carry Narcan on campus.

Barlow said the districts will make their own decision about allowing children onto campus with Narcan. Luque said BCSD is not ready to make that decision but will be training its staff members in the coming weeks.