SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — In the South Bay, health officials are sounding the alarm about what they say is an epidemic of fentanyl deaths.
Victims are trending younger and more recreational drugs are involved.
Already an epidemic nationally, opioid drug overdoses have been spiking in recent years in Santa Clara County.
Many of the deaths have been linked to fake pills and other narcotics that were laced with fentanyl, says the county’s Bruce Copley.
The county medical examiner reports 49 fentanyl deaths so far this year, with several cases still pending. That’s on pace to match the 88 deaths in 2020, which was up dramatically from the year before.
Many of the deaths are occurring in young people, including teenagers.
Thought to be arriving primarily from Mexico, synthetic fentanyl is being found in cocaine, heroin and other recreational drugs but is far, far stronger.
Even trace amounts of fentanyl can be lethal. Fentanyl overdoses now account for more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. There is also thought to be a connection with the pandemic.