Videos from San Francisco posted on social media Aug. 30 present morgue vans loading our bodies amid scenes of widespread habit, with individuals folded up and contorted in unnatural positions in what many describe as dystopian settings on the streets of downtown.
Posts on X, previously referred to as Twitter, repeatedly shared by locals indicated that as many as 18 overdose deaths happened in San Francisco all through the day, however a spokesperson for the chief health worker’s workplace instructed The Epoch Times by electronic mail Aug. 31 that 13 deaths occurred and are presently underneath investigation.
“Today, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner initiated examinations on 13 cases received within the past twenty-four hours,” the spokesperson wrote.
“The case and manner of death for these decedents remain under review.”
No toxicology outcomes are but out there, and the examiner’s workplace had no additional remark.
Approximately 2,500 individuals have died from overdose in San Francisco since 2020, in accordance with health worker statistics (pdf) together with the primary seven months of 2023.
More than 81 % of such circumstances revealed fentanyl throughout toxicology testing.
While deaths dipped barely final yr, numbers at the moment are on the rise and on tempo to set a report, as greater than 500 have occurred within the metropolis up to now, with 71 unintended overdose deaths in July alone, in accordance with the health worker’s knowledge.
Overdose places are unfold all through the town and concentrated in sure areas, based mostly on health worker data.
Known for prime crime and open-air drug markets, the Tenderloin accounts for about 18 % of deaths, with the SOMA space, which is brief for South of Market positioned blocks from Union Square, and Polk/Russian Hill—identified for curvy, picturesque Lombard Street—every accounting for 20 %.
Homeless individuals collect close to drug sellers within the Tenderloin District of San Francisco on Feb. 22, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Fentanyl is accountable for almost all of deaths this yr, in accordance with testing outcomes launched by the health worker.
Odorless, tasteless, and extremely poisonous, the insidious nature by which fentanyl poisonings happen in unsuspecting victims is resulting in rising numbers of overdose deaths, in accordance with specialists.
New artificial analogs—medicine which might be related chemically however not an identical to fentanyl— and different tranquilizers together with Xylazine and Isotonitazine additional complicate issues, as they’re proof against opioid reversal drugs like naloxone, higher referred to as Narcan. Xylazine is answerable for at the very least 16 deaths in San Francisco in 2023, in accordance with the report, and isotonitazine is reportedly 20 occasions stronger than fentanyl, in accordance with the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Victim advocates and relations of these misplaced to habit wrote hundreds of names in chalk on the sidewalk exterior City Hall that night time, because the deaths occurred in the future earlier than San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston held a gathering to convey consideration to International Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31.
“Overdoses are at crisis levels,” Mr. Preston wrote on X the identical day.
“Today & every day, I’ll continue to work to ensure our city is using every evidence-based tool at our disposal—including overdose prevention, treatment on demand, recovery resources—to reduce overdoses [and] save lives.”
Supervisors have confronted scrutiny on social media, as involved residents categorical disappointment within the public issues of safety plaguing the town, and plenty of questioned Mr. Preston’s put up with feedback about perceived coverage failures.
A drug person shows fentanyl within the Tenderloin District of San Francisco on Feb. 23, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
At the drug consciousness gathering, one advocate for hurt discount—which focuses on schooling and overdose prevention versus prosecution—was pictured on the occasion waving an indication declaring “Downtown is for drug users,” and one other wore a “police are terrorists” shirt.
Responsible for practically 6,000 deaths a yr in California, as of the newest statistics from the Department of Public Health protecting 2021, fentanyl is drawing consideration from lawmakers on either side of the aisle.
Bipartisan payments in search of to extend penalties for fentanyl distribution have been met with resistance within the Legislature, with members of public security committees in each homes voicing desire for rehabilitation and overdose prevention.
Some lawmakers voiced reluctance to advance any proposals that embrace punitive measures, together with incarceration, arguing that doing so could be extending the “failed War on Drugs.” Subsequently, eight of 9 such payments have been killed earlier this yr.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced in May a joint operation between California Highway Patrol and the National Guard to disrupt fentanyl distribution in San Francisco.
Since then, tons of of arrests have been made and sufficient fentanyl seized in two neighborhoods—56 kilograms—to kill practically the state’s complete inhabitants, in accordance with San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s workplace launched Sept. 1.