Fentanyl overdose surge concerning South Bay officials

Bay Area

FILE – This photo provided by the U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah and introduced as evidence in a 2019 trial shows fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills collected during an investigation. In a resumption of a brutal trend, nearly 71,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2019 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a new record high that predates the COVID-19 crisis. The numbers were driven by fentanyl and similar synthetic opioids, which accounted for 36,500 overdose deaths. (U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah via AP)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KRON) – While the Delta variant surges across the country, South Bay officials are sounding the alarm about another type of surge.

In 2021, to date, there have been 44 confirmed fentanyl-related deaths in Santa Clara County, which officials say is certain to rise. In 2019, there were 27 recorded deaths. This rose dramatically in 2020 to 88 recorded deaths.

Just this summer, the drug is suspected to be the cause of death of a juvenile in Morgan Hill on August 3rd, a person in a Santa Clara hotel on July 26 and the suspected cause of death of an inmate at the Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas on July 22.

In addition, cocaine containing fentanyl is the suspected cause of death in a double overdose in a Sunnyvale hotel on July 18 and white powder containing fentanyl is the suspected cause of death in Mountain View on May 21.

The district attorney’s office says there have also been “many other” fentanyl deaths related to fake pills.

“COVID is not the only health crisis we are facing in Santa Clara County, and Delta is not the only deadly variant,” Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “We are committed to work alongside advocates and addicts, police and parents, to stop these overdoses and save lives.”

Fentanyl is also hitting the homeless population particularity hard.

Over the past three weeks, seven homeless residents in San Jose have suffered fatal overdoses from methamphetamine containing fentanyl.

Driven by the drug overdoses, there have been 36 overall homeless deaths from July 9 through August 9, compared to 16, which is already more than double than they were last year during the same period.

Anyone who needs drug and alcohol treatment can call Gateway at 1 (800) 488-9919. Free Narcan is also available through the County of Santa Clara Behavioral Health Services.

More substance use resources and information can be found here.

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