Last month, an additional 58 people died due to drug overdoses in San Francisco, bringing the city’s total to at least 621, a sharp jump from last year’s recorded 441 deaths.
Drug overdose deaths
The latest statistics place San Francisco puts the city close to experiencing two deaths every day. The numbers also undermine the number of deaths caused by the recent coronavirus pandemic, which was recorded at 173 since it spread across the city.
Fentanyl, a powerful opioid that is potentially 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, aggravated the drug overdose situation.
The latest data comes a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a total of 81,230 cases of drug overdose in the United States for the last 12 months ending in May. The statistics are the highest numbers of the incident over the same period of time ever recorded. Officials are anxious it signals the worsening of the pandemic across the nation.
The pandemic is also a factor in the worsening situation due to its disruption of city services, forcing many residents who depend on medical experts to assist them in case of an overdose to take care of themselves.
Over 39% of the drug overdose death happened in the Tenderloin and South of Market, which are the two same neighborhoods where the majority of drug-related arrests happen. About 82% of the victims were male, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Many of the victims overdosed inside their apartment buildings or in city-funded hotel rooms for the homeless. Several others succumbed to death in public spaces such as sidewalks, alleyways, and parks.
Despite the increasing number of victims, the opioid reversal drug, Narcan, was also able to save many lives. Between January and November, the drug was used to save the lives of 2,975 people who were almost dead.