Overdose Deaths Continue to Kill Yakima Residents
Another month has passed in Yakima and overdose deaths continue.
Yakima County Coroner Jim Curtice says at the beginning of August the number of overdose deaths was 41. In September the number was 50 overdoses. Today the number is 58. That's less than last year's number at this time when 76 people had died from drugs in Yakima County. Last year a record 98 overdoses happened the most the county has ever recorded.
Curtice calls fentanyl the hidden killer
Curtice 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. He says many people who thought they were taking one kind of drug were killed by drugs laced with fentanyl. Curtice also believes local cocaine is also laced with the drug as well.
Curtice says currently fentanyl is responsible for 70% of the overdose deaths in the county.
Curtice says he knows where the fentanyl is coming from
So where is the fentanyl coming from? Curtice believes it's coming in big quantities from Mexico through the open US border.
Curtice says he works closely with victim families and speaks around the valley to various groups about the dangers of fentanyl and the challenge authorities have in communities like Yakima.
A special campaign was launched in Yakima earlier this year
Earlier this year Yakima Health District officials launched the second phase of its “Opioid Overdose Prevention" Campaign. Health district officials hope to educate community members about the overdose prevention medicine called naloxone and where to find it.
A press release from the health district says increasing naloxone use in the community is one measure to prevent overdose-related deaths. They say naloxone is safe and easy to use. If individuals are at increased risk for an opioid overdose or know someone who is, they should consider carrying naloxone.
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