San Francisco is poised to surpass a record-breaking year for overdose deaths.
There were 563 overdose fatalities in the Golden City between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31, according to a recent report from the San Francisco chief medical examiner. This puts the city on track to hit 845 overdose fatalities in 2023, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, far surpassing the record 725 in 2020.
“There’s so much fentanyl that it’s contaminated other drugs sold on the street like meth and crack cocaine. It’s in everything,” Tom Wolf, a former drug user and current recovery advocate, told Fox News. He said the surge in overdoses is because the amount of fentanyl on the streets has increased threefold compared to 2020.
“I see suffering and despair on many blocks,” Wolf added. There are “literally thousands of people in tents or on the street” who “are almost all using meth and fentanyl.”
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Out of the 563 overdose deaths in San Francisco this year, 456 involved fentanyl, according to the data from the medical examiner’s office. August and January were the deadliest months this year with 84 overdose deaths each, averaging nearly three a day.
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In 2017, meanwhile, just 36 of the 222 overdose deaths involved fentanyl, according to the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
“It’s crazy, so sad out here, it’s like a zombie apocalypse,” Georgia Taylor, a 32-year-old fentanyl user, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I’ve been clean before, and I so, so want to get clean again before I overdose and die. But it’s so hard.”
“You can find 100 people out here who have 100 different reasons for using, and we all have to be ready to quit before it will work,” said Taylor, who began using the synthetic opioid after losing her kids to child protective services.
A local dealer told the Chronicle that drug addicts were free to make their own decisions.
“I don’t give a f— about the overdoses,” a middle-aged dealer told a Chronicle reporter while handing fentanyl to a woman for $10. “You make your choice to put that s— in your mouth. That’s your business. I need to make my money.”
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Will Krtek, a fentanyl user himself, saved a user’s life last week after noticing him sprawled on the sidewalk.
“Somebody help! Bring some Narcan,” Krtek yelled before giving the overdosing user chest compressions. He told the Chronicle that was the fourth person he’d saved over a week and a half.
Increased police intervention will help combat the overdose epidemic, Wolf told Fox News.
“Fentanyl changed the game and has turned all public health approaches on its head,” Wolf said. It is “going to require the city to start making hard choices of what to do, which includes more enforcement, intervention and mandated treatment for those breaking the law to support their addiction.”
“Enforcement must now be part of the solution in order to save lives,” he added.
Neither Mayor London Breed’s office nor the San Francisco Department of Public Health immediately responded to a request for comment.
Original article source: ‘Zombie apocalypse’: San Francisco on track to crush overdose death record as addicts die in streets