Fatal drug overdoses surged by nearly 59 percent in San Francisco last year with 699 deaths reported as of the end of 2020, according to a new report released Thursday by the Medical Examiner’s Office.
The alarming number of fatalities is being driven by the use of the drug fentanyl, with the potent synthetic opioid detected in about 500 of the deaths, the report shows.
The year-end data comes as no surprise. The City has been experiencing a rise in fatal overdoses in recent years, and a report issued last October put San Francisco on pace to see this many fatalities.
By comparison, 441 people died from cocaine, methamphetamine or opioid overdoses in 2019.
The staggering numbers angered Supervisor Matt Haney, who has been calling for San Francisco to pay closer attention to the issue.
“These lives should have been saved,” Haney said. “This should have shocked the conscience of the entire city. Every single leader in our city should be working on stopping this.”
Fatal overdoses have proven even more deadly than COVID-19 for San Francisco. The pandemic has claimed 241 lives in The City since it began in early 2020.
“This is the most deadly epidemic killing people in our city,” Haney said. “It deserves a similar level of focus, coordination and urgency as we devoted to COVID-19.”