“Just five years ago, Santa Clara County recorded zero fatal teenage overdoses. By the end of 2020, at the height of the pandemic, the annual count of teens dying from fatal accidental overdoses stood at 20.
In the News
Addressing the Rising Rates of Fatal Youth Opioid Overdoses in Santa Clara County
- The San Francisco Standard
Despite the apparent progress in battling teen OD fatalities, Santa Clara County overdose deaths overall continue to rise, with a record 373 recorded last year. Those overdoses included fatalities from non-opiate substances like alcohol and cocaine.
The deadly synthetic opioid spread rapidly throughout the South Bay drug supply in recent years, and between 2019 and 2022, fentanyl-linked overdoses increased fivefold in Santa Clara County.
We had to start talking about [the overdose crisis]. It was so in our faces, and we were that frontline. As much as many would try to pretend like [opioid use] was somewhere else—NIMBY kind of business—those of us that are in the rooms with the patient, trying to revive people from overdoses, we were seeing it.Reb Close, MD
Emergency Medicine Physician based in Monterey and Associate at PHI’s CA Bridge
Who’s Dying From Overdoses in Santa Clara
Asian people comprise Santa Clara’s largest racial group, representing 39% of the population. But their share of fatal overdoses was significantly smaller, sitting at just 7.5% in 2022.
In the South Bay and the Peninsula, there was a perception that the drug crisis was something that was happening in [San Francisco’s] Tenderloin, and that there weren't patients in these towns using fentanyl. We still heard a lot of hospitals saying, ‘Oh, well, those patients don't come here,’ or ‘We don't see those kinds of people in the hospital.’Elizabeth Keating, MPA
Clinical Program Director, PHI’s CA Bridge
To read the full article, click on the link below.
Originally published by The San Francisco Standard