The city of San Francisco reported more drug overdose deaths than COVID-19 casualties in 2020, according to The New York Times (NYT).
713 San Franciscans died of drug overdoses, compared to 257 San Franciscans who died of the coronavirus, according to the report. A researcher found that drug overdoses have more than tripled in the city since 2017 and that San Francisco has more overdoses per capita than any other major city on the West Coast, the NYT reported.
An average of 16 people per week died of drug overdoses in the first three months of 2021, according to the Times.
More people died from drug overdoses than from the coronavirus in San Francisco last year.
The drug deaths in the city — about two a day — stem from a confluence of despair as fentanyl devastates the homeless population.https://t.co/zHAfg2Xad1
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 23, 2021
Fentanyl is ravaging city streets, particularly among the homeless population in the Tenderloin district. Matt Haney, a member of the city’s Board of Supervisors who represents the Tenderloin, told the Times, “I can say for sure that what we are doing is not working and that it’s getting worse every single day. I get offered drugs every time I step outside. It’s overwhelming.”
Tenderloin police seized 5,449 grams of fentanyl in 2020, which was nearly four times the amount seized in 2020, according to the NYT report. (RELATED: Drug Users Openly Shoot Up In San Francisco Metro Station [VIDEO])
Epidemiologist Alex Kral who has been conducting surveys from drug users for the past quarter-century, found a significant increase in the homeless population. The number of drug users who are homeless was nearly 25 percent when Kral first started his surveys. The number has now increased to 80 percent today.
“You can’t disentangle the overdose mortality crisis from the housing crisis,” Dr. Kral said. “They are completely interlinked.”