SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — San Francisco’s deadly fentanyl epidemic surged again last month.
Four-hundred-seventy-three people died from accidental drug overdoses within the first seven months of 2023, according to new data released by the published by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. In July alone, 71 overdose deaths were reported in San Francisco.
The medical examiner’s Forensic Laboratory Division found that the vast majority of the 473 deaths — 385 — were caused by fentanyl, a powerful opioid that causes its user to stop breathing.
Xylazine, a newly-emerging street drug called also referred to as “Tranq” and “Zombie Drug,” killed 16 people.
A average of two people have died every day from drug overdoses in San Francisco this year.
The overdose report is based on lab results from testing conducted through August 8. The report does not include data of deaths that occurred in August. Anti-drug activist JJ Smith said he witnessed a coroner’s van transporting multiple overdose victims from the Tenderloin neighborhood on Wednesday.
On Thursday, San Francisco Department of Public Health officials gathered to remember victims whose lives were lost, as well as recognize International Overdose Awareness Day.
August 31 is recognized as the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose and acknowledge grief felt by family and friends left behind. According to the CDC, an estimated 110,511 people in the United States died of drug overdoses and poisonings in 2022. Nearly 70 percent of those deaths involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl.