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Overdose Deaths Far Outnumber COVID-19 Deaths in San Francisco


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Drugs, insecurity, homelessness and overdoses are systematic problems that the city of San Francisco and several areas of Northern California suffer. In 2020, deaths from coronavirus are notoriously lower than those from drug overdoses: 621 against 173.

According to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle, in November alone, overdose deaths closed at 58.

“Fifty-eight more people died from a drug overdose in San Francisco last month, bringing the annual total to at least 621. That compares to 441 deaths in all of 2019,” the article reports.

The increase in deaths from these illicit substances would be related to the emergence of a powerful drug called “Fentanyl.”

“The drug crisis has been exacerbated by Fentanyl, a powerful opiate that can be 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine,” explains the Californian media.

According to the reports, more than 39% of the overdose deaths occurred in Tenderloin and SoMa, the neighborhoods where most drug-related arrests occur. Approximately 82% of the people who died were men.

There is also something to be concerned about, as the increase in drug overdose deaths is not only being reported from San Francisco, but across the country: “The Centers for Disease Control reported 81,230 drug overdose deaths in the United States in the 12 months ending in May 2020, the highest number of drug overdoses ever recorded in that time and a sign that the epidemic is getting worse across the country.”

The more than 81,000 overdose deaths reported by the center refer to victims between March 2019 and May 2020.

muertes, san francisco, drogas, california
Homelessness is a systemic issue in San Francisco (EFE).
Overdose deaths in state-funded centers

In California, and specifically in San Francisco, there is a serious problem of homelessness. Many have addiction problems and state policies, far from solving the problem, are deepening it.

“Many people have overdosed in low-income apartment buildings and in city-funded hotel rooms for the homeless, according to city data obtained by The Chronicle. Many others died in plain sight in the city, on sidewalks, in alleys, and in parks,” the San Francisco newspaper explains.

To better understand the homeless problem, there is a documentary by Christopher F. Rufo, “Chaos by the Bay,” which details some of San Francisco’s failed policies for the homeless. The situation is truly tragic.

Documental Chaos by the bay, vía YouTube.

“According to the video, the city has more than 18,000 homeless people, including 4,000 who suffer from mental illness and addictions. These people suffer from addiction and mental problems, all despite the fact that the city spends about a billion dollars annually on this population,” as stated in a previous article in El American.

The Miracle of “Narcan”

The 621 deaths could have been more, if not for an antidote to Fentanyl: “Naloxone”, also known as “Narcan”.

“Between January and early November, Narcan has been used 2,975 times to save someone from the brink of death, according to Project DOPE, a city-funded program that manages the response to the overdose in San Francisco,” according to the Chronicle report.

That is, if it weren’t for this medicine, overdose deaths could have been an even more catastrophic figure. This situation, not only in San Francisco, should put American authorities on alert because it is an internal epidemic that develops from harmful drug trafficking and many structural problems that have not been resolved for a long time.

Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.

Contacto: [email protected]

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