Jennifer Buesing, director of school safety and risk prevention for Santa Cruz County.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Latest News

Morning Lookout: Fentanyl fears and getting Narcan on campus; from incarceration to advocacy

Top of the morning to you, Lookout fam! It is Thursday, Sept. 29, and a mostly sunny fall day lies ahead, with temperatures around Santa Cruz County in the 70s and 80s.

Want all of Lookout at your fingertips? By all means, explore on your own.
JUMP TO ... Latest News | Opinion | Events | Guides | Puzzles | Obituaries

With the fentanyl epidemic continuing to take a deadly toll, local administrators are hammering at the need to get opioid-reversing Narcan onto school campuses, Mark Conley reports. “I would rather be overprepared than traumatized knowing there was something that I could have done,” one told him.

In Lookout’s Community Voices opinion section, editor Jody K. Biehl continues her conversation with Crystal Ross, who spent six of the past 10 years in jails in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties and is begging for more support, particularly for those with addiction or mental health issues. And don’t miss Part 1, which you can find here.

We’ve also got Hillary Ojeda’s Q&A with UCSC’s new student body president, who’s optimistic about life on campus but nervous about clashing with school brass, and Wallace Baine previewing a Friday reading of compelling correspondence between a pair of local poets.

Before we get to those headlines, though, we’ve got a flash membership sale happening this week, with the first three new annual members each getting a pair of tickets to the Santa Cruz Comedy Festival, happening all over town this weekend. Click the link below to learn more.

OK, about those headlines ...

‘Imminent’ need for Narcan on campus: School safety leader says fentanyl threat is real, preparation key

Rita Hewitt of SafeRx
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The death of a 15-year-old girl on campus at Hollywood’s Bernstein High School several weeks ago, and the prevalence of rainbow-colored versions of the drug that look like popular candies, provide the latest evidence that the fentanyl epidemic remains too close for comfort when it comes to families, children and schools. This is why Santa Cruz County safety officer Jennifer Buesing is calling on school districts to take the need for on-campus Narcan deadly seriously. Mark Conley reports.

MORE ON FENTANYL’S LOCAL TOLL: Quelling the ‘stigma of shame’: The county’s top doctor opens up about the pain of losing a child to fentanyl

‘During my incarceration, I was screaming for help’: How I went from incarcerated woman to advocate

An undated photo of Crystal Ross
(Via Crystal Ross)

Crystal Ross spent six of the past 10 years in jail in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. In the second part of a “Conversation” with Lookout Community Voices editor Jody K. Biehl, Crystal talks about the addiction that led her to go to jail and lose her daughters and about “hitting bottom” and finding her way out by advocating for herself and other women in jail. She begs Santa Cruz County to do better, to offer more services and “more compassion” for those with addictions and mental health disorders in our jails. Read Part 2 of the conversation here.

PART 1: ‘I have never had such a horrible experience as I did this past year in the Santa Cruz jail’


Arts Council Open Studios display ad

Santa Cruz County Job Board

A full slate indeed this Thursday morning. By the time you’ve digested all that and might be looking ahead, we’ll have the latest edition of Weekender, Wallace Baine’s recommendation-packed stroll through Santa Cruz County’s arts and entertainment scene. That’s coming later, and you can click here to get it delivered right to you, along with our other newsletters and breaking news alerts. Following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is another good way to stay current.

As I often tell you, none of this is possible without community support — so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member.

Cheers to an excellent Thursday!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz