SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Deaths by fentanyl overdoses in Santa Clara County almost doubled since last year, according to the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner.

The county recorded 53 deaths due to fentanyl overdoses in 2020 — a significant increase from last year’s 29 fentanyl-related deaths — and officials expect the number to go up before the end of the year.

Just as concerning for the medical examiner-coroner is the ages of the victims, which range from 60 to 16 years old.

“The high number of fentanyl deaths this year is extremely troubling and worrisome, especially as we see it happening to both teenagers and adults, particularly young adults,” said Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner, Dr. Michelle Jorden. “Fentanyl can be found in fake pills, powders, and other drugs. Even one pill, a fragment of a pill or one snort can be fatal.”

Fentanyl is an opioid, which county officials say is the most addictive drug with the highest risk for overdose. But fentanyl is 80-100 times more powerful than morphine and even small amounts can cause overdose and death within a matter of minutes.

Adding to the issues is the fact that many opioids bought on the street are fake. The pills look like real prescription medications.

“Many of the fake oxycodone pills are blue, circular tablets marked with a letter “M” inside a square on one side, and the number “30” on the other,” county officials wrote in a press release. “Fentanyl is also available in a powder form which is as dangerous and deadly.”

Narcan can stop overdoses and kits can be obtained from:

  • Central Valley Clinic, 2425 Enborg Lane, San Jose, 408-885-5400, Monday to Sunday, 1-2 p.m.
  • Alexian Health Clinic, 2101 Alexian Drive, Suite B, San Jose, 408-272-6073, Monday to Sunday, 1-2 p.m.
  • South County Clinic, 90 Highland Avenue, Building J, San Martin, 408-272-6073, Monday to Sunday, 1-2 p.m.

Appointments for other times Monday to Friday can be made by calling the phone numbers listed above.

For more information, visit the Santa Clara County Opioid Overdose Prevention Project at sccgov.org/sccoopp.

Comments