In August 2023, San Francisco witnessed the highest number of overdose fatalities since tracking began in 2020, highlighting the city's ongoing battle with drug addiction and the opioid crisis.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported:
The number of overdose deaths in San Francisco jumped up yet again in August — to 84 from 74 in July — tying January as the single deadliest month for overdoses since the city started tracking these deaths in the beginning of 2020.
At the current pace, San Francisco is on track to see 845 overdose fatalities this year, topping 2020’s 725 deaths.
The numbers underscore how San Francisco officials continue to struggle to address the devastation of fentanyl on the city’s streets — a crisis that Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax called “distressing.”
The last figures indicate people are dying from fentanyl overdoses at a rate of nearly three people a day.
In spite of concerted efforts by both city and state authorities to tackle the fentanyl crisis, San Francisco has seen a record spike in overdose deaths. Last year, Mayor London Breed labelled the drug issue a "state of emergency" in the city's Tenderloin district.
Subsequently, in April, Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom deployed both the California Highway Patrol and the California National Guard in an attempt to offer assistance. Yet, the challenge continues, with a steady flow of narcotics entering from the U.S.-Mexico border to the south.
On Monday, Colfax and other health authorities launched a renewed effort to encourage those battling addiction to pursue treatment.
“Addiction is treatable and recovery is possible,” said Dr. Hillary Kunins, the city’s director of behavioral health services and mental health. “We want to send the message that though fentanyl overdoses are serious and potentially life-threatening, help is available.”