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State Health Department: More California Residents Dying From Fentanyl Than Opioids

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — The California Department of Health said that fentanyl overdose deaths have skyrocketed — up 614% in four years.

According to the health department, most fentanyl overdose deaths are caused by imported and illicit fentanyl that is disguised as other pills.

Michael Castanon, CEO of the Dana Point Rehab Campus in Orange County, said addiction often starts with a prescription for opioid painkillers from a doctor, but when people can no longer get feed their habit with a visit to the doctor's office, he said they turn to the streets where dealers often cut painkillers with fentanyl because it's cheap and potent.

"It is actually 80-100 times more powerful than morphine," he said.

That's what happened to David Graham, who said he was prescribed a fentanyl patch and other painkillers by his doctor after a car accident — now, he's just one face of a growing epidemic.

"The doctors didn't warn me until the last few months," Graham said. "I'm very glad I'm here."

Graham is now a patient at Data Point, where he said he used to find comfort in pills, but now finds peace in recovery.

Both Castanon and Graham said the problem should not be ignored, and they hope that the best minds can come together to find a solution.

"There is hope," Graham said. "There is definitely hope."

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