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Fentanyl, a drug that has been running rampant within the United States, is becoming a serious issue within the Inland Empire. The region that once was called “The Meth Capital of the World” now fears that fentanyl will cause another drug epidemic. Riverside City College Viewpoints journalists, in partnership with California Humanities through the Democracy and Informed Citizen Emerging Journalist Fellowship Program, looked to answer three questions: 1) How is the drug entering the region? 2) What does fentanyl do to a person who consumes it? 3) What solutions does the Inland Empire have?

Podcast Episodes


“An Empire of Addiction”

Episode 1:

“From Smugglers to Social Media”

Episode 2:

“A Chronic Relapsing Disease”

Episode 3:

“Where Does the Empire Go From Here?”

Platform Links


SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline

  • Confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Crisis Text Line: Text “Home” to 741741 or https://www.crisistextline.org/

  • Crisis Text Line is meant for any crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds, all from their secure online platform. The volunteer Crisis Counselor will help you  move from a hot moment to a cool moment.

Never Use Alone Hotline: 800-484-3731 or https://neverusealone.com/

  • If you are going to use by yourself, call this number. You will be asked for your first name, location, and the number you are calling from. An operator will stay on the line with you while you use. If you stop responding after using, the operator will notify emergency services of an “unresponsive person” at your location.

Riverside County Cares Hotline: 800-499-3008

  • If you need someone to talk to, are concerned about someone, need help finding a local resource, or assistance navigating treatment options contact the CARES Line 24/7 for free and confidential local help. Assistance available in English and Spanish.

Connect IE: https://www.connectie.org/

  • Search for free or reduced cost services using this search tool.

Links for Additional Reading

Survey about the cities that make the Inland Empire: https://www.pe.com/2022/01/09/what-cities-make-up-the-inland-empire-survey-holds-surprises/

Riverside County Overdose Dashboard: https://countyofriverside.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=5e0ff2f698264ac6bd8795d6888e14a5

Victims of Illicit Drugs website: https://stopthevoid.org/

Narcan administration tutorial: https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/overdose-epidemic/how-administer-naloxone


Will L.G. Stephens

Life Editor

Jennipher Vasquez

News Editor

Tim Nacey

Multimedia Editor

Daniel Hernandez

Managing Editor

This project was supported by California Humanities through the Democracy and Informed Citizen Emerging Journalist Fellowship Program. To learn more, please visit www.calhum.org.

Any views, finding, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities.

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