SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The number of people who died from accidental overdoses in San Francisco declined in 2022, according to the San Francisco Department of Public Health. The department cited preliminary data indicating that this marked the second year in a row the city’s drug mortality rate dropped.

There were 620 accidental drug overdose deaths recorded in the 2022 calendar year, according to the SFDPH, which attributed the data to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. That’s compared to 640 such deaths reported in 2021 and 725 back in 2020.

Black individuals continue to make up a disproportionate number of the deaths, DPH said. According to preliminary data cited, the overdose death rate among Blacks is more than five times higher than the citywide rate and remains on par with 2021.

The drop last year represents a 14% decrease from 2020, when drug overdose rates hit an all-time high in SF. The spike that year was attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and emergence of the deadly synthetic opioid, fentanyl.

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“Fentanyl continues to disrupt and destroy lives in our City and while the overdose numbers have gone down, they still remain far too high,” Mayor London Breed said. “San Francisco remains committed to finding innovative solutions to the ongoing opioid crisis while also focusing on the accountability work with our public safety agencies to get drugs off our streets.”  

Fentanyl is the leading driver of drug overdose use nationwide and remains a rampant problem in SF, where it is also the leading cause of overdose deaths. Of the city’s 620 overdose deaths last year, 72% were attributed to fentanyl, according to SFDPH.