County of Marin - News Releases - Probation Operatation

For Immediate Release
April 14, 2016

Probation Operation a Preview for Drug Take-Back Day

Successful sweep in Marin after noted rise in narcotic fentanyl

San Rafael, CA – In preparation for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 30, the County of Marin is participating in a communitywide commitment to get pain medications out of the hands of those intending to use pills recreationally – a commitment that includes the use of law enforcement.

Law enforcement officers from police, probation and sheriff walk during a narcotics sweep.The April 13 operation was a multiagency effort.
The Marin County Probation Department and the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services recently noted a spate of overdoses of the narcotic called fentanyl, which is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 40 to 50 times more potent than heroin. Fentanyl, typically used for pain after surgery, is a synthetic opioid analgesic with a rapid onset and a short duration of action. Seizures of fentanyl in possession by unprescribed recipients have increased sevenfold nationally in the past few years.

On the night of April 13, the Probation Department worked with the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the Novato Police Department to contact 22 probationers during a compliance check in San Rafael, Novato and San Anselmo. Officers searched 27 rooms and educated the probationers about the dangers of fentanyl. All probationers were found to be in compliance, although one arrest was made of an unrelated person for a warrant.

“First off, I am pleased with the results from last night,” Chief Probation Officer Mike Daly said. “Conducting unannounced probation searches is an excellent tool to see if people are in compliance. We passed out educational information on the dangers of prescription pill abuse and no one went to jail. That’s a good night. I want to avoid another year like 2013.”

Marin is being proactive, partly because of the grassroots RxSafe Marin initiative and recognition by the Marin County Board of Supervisors that prescription drug abuse is at a crisis level. In 2014, the last year for which full statistics are available, there were 10 accidental deaths and 450 non-fatal emergency room visits attributed to overdoses. Accidental overdose deaths have risen steadily over the past two decades but peaked at 27 in 2013.

"We view each drug overdose death as preventable,” said Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis. “We still see more deaths locally from overdoses than from motor vehicle accidents. Addressing prescription drug misuse remains one of our top public health priorities."

On February 9, the Board of Supervisors added controlled substances to the list of prohibited intoxicants listed in the County’s Social Host Accountability Ordinance. It was a pointed effort to get prescription pain medications out of the hands of underage people.

Community members can help turn the tide on the epidemic by properly disposing of unused medication, locking up medications in homes, and talking to teens about the danger Marin is facing. National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is April 30, and Marin HHS will be an active participant with other local agencies. Check the County’s online list of locations that accept unused and unwanted prescription medications.

RxSafe Marin is a grassroots community initiative dedicated to saving lives and reducing harm from prescription drug misuse and abuse. Building on the work of community activists, Marin County HHS, the Probation Department, the District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, Marin County Office of Education each have officials co-leading the initiative along with residents, youth, coalitions, pharmacists and health providers.

Community feedback on the issue is welcomed at Follow RxSafe Marin on Facebook.


Michael Daly
Chief Probation Officer
Probation Department

3501 Civic Center Dr.
Suite 259
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6602
Email: Michael Daly
Probation website