Fentanyl Deaths Skyrocket by 1,657% in One California County Over Six-Year Period


According to a new analysis released Wednesday, one California county is facing a large fentanyl epidemic, with an astounding 1,910 deaths as a result of the drug in 2022 alone.

The Los Angeles Daily News investigation found a 1,652% increase in fentanyl-related deaths in Los Angeles County over six years, with specific overdose hotspots including MacArthur Park, Hollywood, and Skid Row.

The outlet discovered that access to crucial services that could save lives is still uneven in many neighborhoods throughout the county.

According to L.A. County Medical Examiner-Coroner data, almost 35% of the county’s fentanyl overdoses in 2022 occurred in just 23 of the county’s 312 ZIP codes, implying that only 7% of ZIP codes accounted for more than a third of all deaths.

The majority of the fatalities were reported in MacArthur Park and Skid Row. The first is a notorious hub for fentanyl sales, while the second is home to nearly 4,000 homeless people.

Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Pico Gardens, the Fashion District, South Central L.A., Van Nuys, North Hills, Downtown Lancaster, San Pedro, and Long Beach’s Washington district are among the other regions with high drug-related fatality rates.

A Lack Of Help On Offer In High-risk Areas

According to the L.A. Daily News, Skid Row lacks a methadone clinic, and MacArthur Park lacks harm-reduction services that could help avoid deaths.

These services frequently provide sterile medicines, fentanyl test strips, and Narcan, a substance that can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Methadone is also used to treat opioid addiction and must be picked up on a daily basis.

While there are some outreach agencies and non-profit organizations operating in these areas, the nearest methadone clinic is three miles distant for individuals on Skid Row.

“Put a methadone clinic on Skid Row; that’s kind of the lowest-hanging service gap,” said Chelsea Shover, a health services researcher and assistant professor-in-residence at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.

“If you happen to live in Skid Row, as lots of people who might need or want treatment for opioid use disorder do, there’s nowhere practical to access it.”

There are also calls for extra treatment beds so that patients can receive withdrawal treatment from specialists. L.A. County now has roughly 2,700 beds, but there is no certainty that beds will be accessible for people in need.

California, like other states around the country, has seen children die as a result of the drug, and earlier this year the state doubled the number of National Guard officers at the Mexican border to stem the flow of fentanyl.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, even a modest amount of fentanyl can be lethal. The CDC reported in 2021 that fentanyl contamination of other drugs was increasing, leading to an increase in overdose deaths.

The Biden administration has announced the formation of a new task group to investigate the financial conduits used to sell the narcotic into the United States.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.