Drug-related deaths are on the rise in San Luis Obispo County with health officials saying fentanyl is the leading cause.
A murder charge filed this week in connection with the October 2022 death of Quinn Hall in San Luis Obispo is only the second time the SLO County District Attorney’s Office has filed murder charges for an overdose death.
District Attorney Dan Dow says cases involving fentanyl can be difficult with very specific information needed to file the most severe charge.
“Law enforcement determines that someone died as a result of this sale of drugs. They’re gonna look at it very carefully and find out what information the person selling it knew at the time that they sold that substance to that person,” Dow said.
Atascadero mother Cammie Velci knows the pain of losing a loved one to fentanyl.
Her son died in 2020 after taking a powerful painkiller. The person believed responsible for selling it to him was the first in the county to be charged with murder in connection with the sale of fentanyl.
Velci is now working to raise awareness of the dangers of fentanyl.
“I am glad to see that we are now taking the bull by the horns and bringing awareness and attention to this deadly crisis,” she said.
With an increase in overdose deaths, Dow urges people to stay away from taking medications that have been prescribed to someone else.
Dow says 110 people die every week from fentanyl in the State of California. He adds that the spike in fentanyl-related deaths due to drug consumption over the last two years in the county is the largest they have ever seen.
The suspect in Quinn Hall's death, Brandi Turner, is due in court next week. If she is convicted of the second-degree murder charge, she faces a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.