The deaths of three young men in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood early Thursday are being investigated as possible drug overdoses, and public health officials say they fear they could be due to fentanyl, a powerful, fast-acting opiate that is becoming increasingly available.
Police received a call around 4:30 a.m. reporting three people who appeared unresponsive in the 1500 block of Page Street, according to Officer Robert Rueca.
Officers found the three adult males outside on the street and called for medical aid, but paramedics pronounced them dead at the scene.
Rueca said there was no sign of foul play, and the deaths did not appear to be weather related.
Health Department officials are investigating the deaths along with the medical examiner’s office, and department spokeswoman Rachael Kagan said they are concerned that fentanyl could be a factor.
Fentanyl, a fast-acting synthetic opioid prescribed as a pain reliever, has become increasingly common as a street drug and is blamed for a rise in overdose deaths in many community.
“We will be contacting health care providers and the drug user community to ensure they are aware of the dangers of fentanyl and know how to take precautions,” Kagan said.
Although the incident occurred near a the Urban School, a private high school, officials said the three men did not have any connection to that facility, which remains open.
This story has been updated with additional information.