San Francisco reached a grim milestone in 2020, with a record 621 drug overdose deaths. That number would have been even higher had it not been for the overdose reversal drug Narcan, which was used almost 3,000 times between January and November.
The 621 deaths represent a 70% increase from 2018. Narcan prevented an additional 2,610 fatalities.
The increase in fatal overdoses is driven by the proliferation of fentanyl in the illicit opioid market. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation. Mental health problems are rising and, as people lose health insurance and prescription coverage, they may turn to the black market for pain relief.
Read more at the San Francisco Chronicle.