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West Sacramento News-Ledger

Successful First Fighting Fentanyl Campaign

Jan 12, 2023 12:00AM ● By By Michele Townsend

The West Sacramento community unites in a combined effort against the dangers of fentanyl during the Fight Fentanyl campaign initiated on Saturday, January 7th at Muscle Systems Gym. From left to right: Michele Townsend; Yolo DDA Preston Schaub, WSPD Chief Rob Strange, organizer Rick Brazil, Jessica Piazza and Marcus Jackson of Access TV, Sacramento. Photo courtesy of Michele Townsend

Successful First Fighting Fentanyl Campaign [2 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - West Sacramento father, Rick Brazil, organized the first Fighting Fentanyl event on Saturday, January 7th at Muscle Systems Gym. This was the first time that Rick has ever done something like this, but he was willing to learn what it takes for the sake of the message advanced.

Rick’s 22-year-old son, Mason Brazil, passed away from fentanyl poisoning in the spring of 2022 so Rick decided to hold the awareness campaign in the same gym they used to train in MMA style fighting.

“We started training to get out some teenage aggression,” said Rick, “but then from there it became a place where we could talk, and it brought us even closer than we were before.”

Training for both was almost every day, and Rick will forever hold the memories shared with his son deep in his heart.

Mason had enough fighting skill that he had competed in a few matches, but he also loved to share with others his many talents – such as his love for music. In fact, he has several rap songs on YouTube.

The father explained that his mission through this event was to bring awareness about how much fentanyl is in our town and that just one pill can kill an unsuspecting victim. 

“We have to get the word out on the street that these pills all look the same, and one pill can kill,” he said, “They (victims) do not choose to do this. This is not what they mean to do and not what they think they are taking.”

Rick is a well-known figure in the West Sacramento community as a little league coach of many years. He says that he knows everybody’s kids and wants them to know that Mason was a good man, his best friend, and he didn’t mean to do this. He wants everyone to talk to their kids and make sure they know what’s going on.

In addition, there were also two speakers featured besides Rick.

WSPD Chief Rob Strange spoke saying that he was sad to be speaking on the back of Mason’s tragic death, but that the community needs to come together on this matter. He said that everyone in the room probably knows someone that means a lot to them who is afflicted with an addiction of some sort.

Strange believes those with an addiction can beat it, rebuild their relationships as well as regain hope and that the only way to get them on that pathway is to normalize talking about it.

“Last year alone, we lost 16 West Sacramentans to overdose deaths,” said Chief Strange. “The highest number we’ve had in the last five years by 25 percent.”

Strange finished by thanking Rick for the event and said he was honored to speak as a member of the West Sac community.

Deputy District Attorney, Preston Schuab, spoke next. Preston is the West Sac Community Prosecutor, meaning he lives in West Sac and is the liaison between the DA’s office and WSPD when there are problems in the community.

“Besides homelessness, I cannot think of any bigger problem than fentanyl in West Sacramento right now,” said Preston.

Prior to COVID in 2018, fentanyl was not on anyone’s radar, being that it was strictly in hospitals and used for pain relief by the microgram. In 2019 there was one death in Yolo County from fentanyl. In 2020 there were 8, in 2021 it was 13 and last year it was 28.

“By the time 2022 rolled around fentanyl deaths made up about 2/3 of our overdose deaths,” Preston said, “And that matches up with the nation.”

The DA Deputy’s message was clear. Things are getting worse and will continue to get worse. Nobody can do this alone; community members must come together to share their knowledge and resources and tackle this. There must be open and honest communication about this.

The Fighting Fentanyl campaign provided literature explaining how easy it is to get the ingredients and supplies to make the fake pills. Fake Xanax, Oxy, and Percocet are made of fentanyl. Fake Adderall is made from methamphetamine. Furthermore, the literature stated that you must assume all M30’s are fakes. Picture two grains of sand. That’s how much Fentanyl it takes to kill you.

Free Fentanyl Test Strips were offered, and they can be obtained through Health and Human Services as well. During the presentations, Habitat for Humanity provided healthy snacks and Low Cost Liquor provided Gatorade and water.

Naloxone, or NARCAN, is a nasal spray and is the only thing that can reverse a fentanyl overdose. It can be found at schools, police departments, medical facilities and many other places.

Also available were cards that can be sent in for free NARCAN. However, during an overdose, individuals cannot self-administer the medicine. It is, therefore, advised to tell others around you so that if you need it, they know it’s there. Additionally, it often takes more than one dose to reverse the effects – perhaps 5 or 6 doses.

Remember, two grains of sand is the difference between high and die. Assume that any pills that did not come from your own prescription are fake. Some decisions are just permanent.

 

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