Tackling the Fentanyl Epidemic in Marin: Organizations Working to Fight Teen Overdoses

Pills Overdose

Marin’s reputation for health is on par with its reputation for wealth, but appearances can be deceiving. Showing up in everything from recreational drugs like cocaine to fake Xanax pills, fentanyl’s prevalence and path of devastation has prompted Marin County health officials to shift approaches. RxSafe Marin, which successfully reduced the impact of prescription opioids, has rebranded to OD Free Marin.

On average, there is more than one fatal overdose or drug poisoning each week in Marin, and 57% of the 65 fatal overdoses in 2021 were directly tied to fentanyl. Teens deaths resulting from fake prescription drugs laced with fentanyl that they buy unwittingly via social media or on the street is of especially high concern. In response to this and escalating rates of teen binge drinking, a number of both grassroots and other organizations have popped up. Here are some.

Let’s Talk Marin

A public resource developed to help parents and caregivers to navigate teen alcohol consumption and other substance abuse.

Wellify Teen

A non-profit dedicated to helping parents understand the kind of mental health support their teen needs and how to find resources.

Be The Influence

A parenting program which seeks to delay adolescent substance use and prevent harmful consequences associated with underage use.

Marin Healthy Youth Partnerships

A professional nonprofit with a large volunteer base focused on creating healthier environments for Marin’s kids.

Heart of the Village

An all-volunteer organization in Southern Marin providing a forum to discuss issues impacting the community.

Raising the Bar

A campaign aiming to change social norms around the consumption of alcohol and other substances at youth-oriented events.

Marin Overdoses: By the Numbers

Fatal Overdoes Among Marin Residents January 2020-Current

Source: California Department of Public Health, Center for Health Statistic and Informatics.

COVID-19 vs Overdoes Mortality: Marin County, 2021

Source: OD Free Marin.

Kasia Pawlowska

Kasia Pawlowska loves words. A native of Poland, Kasia moved to the States when she was seven. The San Francisco State University creative writing graduate went on to write for publications like the San Francisco Bay Guardian and KQED Arts among others prior to joining the Marin Magazine staff. Topics Kasia has covered include travel, trends, mushroom hunting, an award-winning series on social media addiction and loads of other random things. When she’s not busy blogging or researching and writing articles, she’s either at home writing postcards and reading or going to shows. Recently, Kasia has been trying to branch out and diversify, ie: use different emojis. Her quest for the perfect chip is never-ending.