A Sad And Deadly Year In Yakima As Drug Overdoses Killed Many
Yakima County Coroner describes 2023 as a "very very sad year" when it comes to drug overdose deaths. All total, Jim Curtice says the county saw 94 overdose deaths last year nearly tying with 2021 when a record 95 overdose deaths were reported in the valley.
A MAJORITY OF THE DEATHS ARE THE RESULT OF FENTANYL
Curtice says of the 94 deaths 52 are the result of a fentanyl overdose with 23 cases still pending toxicology results. Curtice sas the overdoses killed people of all colors and age but the largest percentages are white people between the ages of 30 and 39-years-old.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO TODAY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
Overdoses are tough to predict and even tougher to prevent. Curtice says the best thing everyone can do today is to look for the unused or expired medications in medicine cabinets and dispose of them. That way says Curtice young people and others can't find the drugs. Especially pain medications. He says many of the overdoses are in people who have taken what are called "blue 30" pills. Small blue pills with the number 30 printed on them that are laced with fentanyl.
LIVES ARE BEING SAVED EVERYDAY IN YAKIMA
However lives are being saved everyday in Yakima through the use of Naloxone. Yakima Health District officials say it's a life-saving medication that can reverse an overdose from opioids including heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioid medications, when given in time.
NALOXONE IS AVAILABLE IN VENDING MACHINES IN THE VALLEY
Naloxone is available at area pharmacies as well as in vending machines located in Toppenish and Yakima. The district has partnered with OIC of Yakima (Opportunities Industrialization Center) on Fruitvale Blvd. and Yakamart on Fort Road in Toppenish to place the machines in those locations. The vending machines are also available at the Yakima Health District offices.
STATE LAWS PROTECT THOSE WHO WANT TO HELP
Authorities say if you help someone don't be concerned because the state's Good Samaritan Law protects anyone "who seeks medical assistance for a drug overdose against drug possession charges and protects anyone who administers Naloxone."
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Gallery Credit: Hannah Lang