Fentanyl is The Killer That Can’t Be Stopped in Yakima County
Fentanyl is crossing the U.S. Mexican border and local authorities say a lot of the drug is making its way into the Yakima Valley killing residents. Yakima County Coroner Jim Curtice says many people are using the drug and many are overdosing.
OVERDOSE NUMBERS ARE GROWING EVERY YEAR
A record 98 overdose deaths kept authorities busy in Yakima County in 2021. Last year the record wasn't broken but still 81 people lost their lives to drug overdoses in Yakima County. Curtice says about half of the deaths last year were connected to the deadly drug fentanyl. He says it's no different this year as the numbers grow every month.
THE CORONER SEES AT LEAST ONE OVERDOSE EVERY WEEK
Last month at this time the number of suspected overdose deaths was 26 up from 12 overdose deaths reported at this same time in February of this year. Today the number stands at 36 overdose deaths.
OVERDOSE DEATHS AREN'T THE ONLY THING KILLING PEOPLE
Curtice says along with drug overdoses he's investigated 20 homicides in the county so far this year and 18 fatal vehicle crashes. He says many of the drivers were impaired.
Curtice says 14 suicides have been reported in the county so far this year.
SO FAR NO XYLAZINE HAS BEEN FOUND IN YAKIMA OVERDOSES
As previously reported local and state authorities say they're concerned about a "sharp increase in the trafficking of fentanyl mixed with xylazine. Xylazine, also known as “Tranq,” is a powerful sedative that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved for veterinary use."
Curtice says so far he hasn't seen any "Tranq" overdoses in Yakima but he says that doesn't mean it's not here.
FENTANYL IS THE LEADING KILLER IN YAKIMA OVERDOSES
He says fentanyl continues to be the hidden killer in many drugs including the popular blue 30 pills of which he says many are laced with the deadly drug but are sold on the street as Percocete or other less harmful drugs.