Seattle and the encircling space recorded the very best variety of fentanyl-related overdose deaths on document in 2023, information present.
King County, which encompasses Seattle, recorded probably the most fentanyl-related deaths ever in 2023, at 1,078 deadly overdoses. In all, the county recorded 1,318 deaths as a consequence of opioid and drug overdoses final 12 months, that means fentanyl was concerned in additional than 80% of overdose deaths final 12 months.
To date this 12 months, the county has recorded 58 deadly overdoses in January. As of Feb. 6, there have been a complete of 78 confirmed overdoses associated to opioids or alcohol poisoning, Seattle and King County’s deadly overdose dashboard exhibits.
The database exhibits there are an extra 30 deaths this 12 months which are suspected overdoses however nonetheless beneath investigation.
Final 12 months, there was a few 870% improve in fentanyl-related deaths in comparison with pre-pandemic deaths in 2019. There have been 111 fentanyl associated deaths in 2019, which rose to 168 in 2020, 385 in 2021, 714 in 2022 and 1,078 final 12 months, the database exhibits.
“Close to the rise in deadly overdoses, with artificial fentanyl, the drug provide has develop into far more deadly, extra out there, and far inexpensive. Public Well being has been taking a complete method to addressing the disaster. This contains growing entry factors for low-barrier therapy for substance use dysfunction and increasing entry to overdose reversal drugs,” a spokesperson for Seattle & King County’s Public Well being informed Fox Information Digital Tuesday.
Overdose deaths have dramatically affected the metropolis’s massive homeless inhabitants. Final 12 months was the deadliest 12 months for these residing on the streets of King County, with 421 folks presumed homeless dying final 12 months, a county information dashboard exhibits. Of these deaths, 312 have been as a consequence of medicine and alcohol poisoning.
The King County director of public well being for Seattle warned final 12 months officers have been working out of house to retailer our bodies.
“The Medical Examiner’s Workplace is now scuffling with the difficulty of storing our bodies as a result of the fentanyl-related demise toll continues to climb. Clearly, they’ve finite house within the coolers they use, and that house is now being exceeded regularly,” Dr. Faisal Khan, the director of public well being for Seattle and King County, mentioned throughout a King County Board of Well being assembly final 12 months.
“The rise in fentanyl nationally and domestically over the previous few years has led to a way more harmful drug provide,” mentioned Khan. “Fentanyl has elevated the danger of overdose and demise, even from taking one capsule or utilizing a small quantity of powder. It’s now concerned in 70% of King County overdose deaths, as of December 2022.”
A public well being official informed native media on the time that momentary morgues could possibly be used if morgues run out of house.
“We’ve choices for momentary morgue surge capability when our census rely will get excessive, together with storing decedents on post-mortem gurneys and partnerships with funeral houses. We’re exploring longer-term choices for including extra capability,” the general public well being spokesperson mentioned.
Utilizing medicine overtly on the streets of Seattle has develop into a standard sight within the metropolis in recent times. The Seattle Metropolis Council voted in September to approve an ordinance making the use or possession of illicit medicine a gross misdemeanor to assist curb the difficulty.