In December 2017, Hollister Police officers responded to a reported overdose death at an unspecified location within the city limits. During the investigation, police learned the 18-year-old male victim had ingested several narcotics and controlled substances, according to a press release from the Hollister Police Department.
One of the substances consumed by the victim was a counterfeit pharmaceutical medication that is often used as a recreational drug, according to police. The drug unknowingly contained the powerful narcotic, fentanyl.
Police later determined the victim had acquired the drugs from Daniel Ray Cadena, 18, according to authorities. Cadena was arrested after police as well as officers from the Unified Narcotics Enforcement Team executed a search warrant at his home.
Cadena was booked at San Benito County Jail on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter and furnishing/sales of narcotics and controlled substances, police said.
Hollister Police noted the overdose death illustrates the consequences of the “dangerous opioid epidemic” that law enforcement and public health officials have grappled with nationwide. Hollister Police Sgt. Don Pershall said the problem is growing locally.
“(We) have seen an increase in opiate and prescription pill abuse, especially among our high school aged citizens,” Pershall said.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 42,249 people died nationwide from opioid-related drug overdoses in 2016. That same year, 11.5 million people were estimated to have misused prescription opioids.
Opioids are prescription drugs commonly used to treat moderate to severe pain following surgery or an injury, or for chronic health conditions. The drugs are highly addictive, and users can quickly become physically dependent on opioids.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever that is up to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the HHS website. While fentanyl can be prescribed by a doctor to treat severe pain, most recent cases of fentanyl-related harm or death in the U.S. are linked to illegally made fentanyl.
In 2017, Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency related to the opioid epidemic.
Anyone with information about the case involving Cadena in Hollister can call police at (831) 636-4330. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call WeTip at (800) 78-CRIME. Information provided to WeTip may qualify for a reward.