Deadly heroin, fentanyl overdoses more than doubled last year in San Francisco compared to 2018

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The city’s medical examiners office reported a disturbing trend Wednesday on fatal heroin and fentanyl overdoses in San Francisco.

The number of overdoses more than doubled in 2019 compared to the previous year.

Some are now calling for an emergency response from city leaders because of the new figures.

An opioid addict who didn’t want his face shown and asked only to be referred to as Duck says he’s been living on the street 6 1/2 years and says he’s seen many overdoses first hand.

“The last fatal one I saw was just over a year ago,” he said.

New preliminary data coming from the San Francisco’s Medical Examiner’s Office shows that last year that there were 290 deaths linked to either heroin or fentanyl or a combination of the two opioids. 

That’s more than double from the total number of fatal overdoses of those drugs in 2018 when there were 134 recorded.

“It’s awful, it’s devastating. This is the most deadly epidemic that is facing our city right now,” Haney said.

Supervisor Matt Haney, who represents the Tenderloin and South of Market, two areas which are hot spots for fatal overdoses,  is calling for emergency action from the health department.

He recently introduced legislation that will require the department of public health to regularly report of overdose deaths, monthly or quarterly so the city can better track and respond to what he’s calling a deadly epidemic.

The city’s public health department issued a statement Wednesday saying it too is extremely concerned about the rising rate of overdoses and are taking aggressive action to save lives.  

They point out nearly 1,700 lives were saved in 2018 because of Narcan made available to addicts.

They’ve expanded the prescription of a medicine commonly known as Bupe, which is an alternative to methadone to help treat opioid addiction. That has resulted in 2,600 more addicts undergoing treatment.


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