Fentanyl Has Reached The West and Overdoses Are On The Increase
San Francisco remains in the grip of a fierce epidemic, and it is not COVID-19. Incredibly, almost three times as many residents of the Golden Gate City in 2020 died of fentanyl-related overdoses, than did of issues related to the coronavirus.
The numbers released by San Francisco’s Chief Medical Examiner office make for depressing reading whichever way you look at it. The statistics estimate that 708 people died of fentanyl overdoses in the city in 2020, compared to 254 who died of COVID-related illnesses.
Just as the US seemed to be getting to grips with the opioid crisis, a new deadly problem has raised its head that is linked to prescribed opioids by a much lesser degree than has been previously encountered. That problem is fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid that is 100 times more dangerous than the natural opioid morphine.
Fentanyl is Added to Heroin as it is Cheaper to Make, and with Deadly Consequences
Cartels who supply illegal opioids such as heroin often mix in fentanyl which is cheaper to manufacture. As a result, addicts purchase fentanyl-laced heroin in the belief that it is pure heroin. They then take their ‘normal’ dose, unaware that the opioid there are injecting into their bodies is many more times more powerful, and therefore many times more potent than what they have been accustomed to. As a result, their bodies react to the overdose, and they pass away.
Like the rest of the US, San Francisco has seen a stark rise in the number of fentanyl-related overdoses in the past two years. In 2018 the number stood at 260, and by 2020 it has reached 708. It’s also a number that’s showing no signs of reducing. The number of fentanyl-related deaths recorded in the city in January and February was 135. If this trend is maintained throughout the year the number of such deaths will rise above 800 per annum for the first time.
San Francisco was Once Largely Free of Fentanyl, but That is no Longer the Case
“We see the death and devastation getting worse right in front of us,” said San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Matt Haney, speaking to the Wall Street Journal. “It’s an unprecedented spiralling, directly connected to the introduction of fentanyl in our city.”
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