Rainbow colored fentanyl has arrived in Yakima says Yakima County Coroner Jim Curtice as officials around the country battle the growing problem of fentanyl overdose deaths. Yakima isn't shielded from the tragedy as overdose deaths continue to rise. Curtice says he's now seeing the rainbow colored fentanyl at some of the death investigations.

The number of overdose deaths is climbing in Yakima County

Curtice says at the beginning of August the number of overdose deaths was 41. In September the number was 50 overdoses.  Today in this new month of December the number is 70 overdose deaths so far in 2022.
Curtice says that number represents family members who won't be home during the holidays.

Last year a record number of people died of overdoses in Yakima County

And While the number is less than last year's number at this time when 91 people had died from drugs in Yakima County Curtis says he's concerned about the increase this year. Last year a record 98 overdoses happened the most the county has ever recorded.
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 a lot of the fentanyl is coming from

Curtice believes much of the fentanyl is coming 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.

The education about the deadly drug continues in the community

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 heatlh 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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