It’s a Deadly and Growing Problem in the Yakima Valley
Overdose deaths continue in Yakima County as more and more fentanyl laced pills flood the area and kill people. Yakima County Coroner Jim Curtice says so far 23 people have died of overdoses in Yakima County with 60 to 70 percent suspected of overdosing on fentanyl. He says last year Yakima County saw a record 98 overdoses with half connected to the deadly drug fentanyl. Last year at this time the county had 38 recorded overdose deaths.
More males have died in Yakima County this year than females
This year of the 23 people who've died so far 14 were males and 9 were females. One person was 19-year-old, 3 were between the ages of 20 and 29. 7 people were between the age of 30 and 39-years-old, 3 between 40 and 49-years-old and 4 people died of an overdose this year between the ages of 50 and 59-year-old. Curtice says 11 were White, 5 Native American, 5 were Hispanic and 2 African Americans have so far overdosed in Yakima County this year.
The number of people overdosing statewide grows every year
It's not just a problem in Yakima it's a big problem throughout the state. Officials with the Washington State Department of Health say 2,000 people died of drug overdoses in the state in 2021 which is a 66% increase over 2019.
Local authorities are always looking for people who sell the deadly drugs on the streets of Yakima. In March members of the Yakima Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force arrested a 28-year-old man and seized thousands of fentanyl pills and other drugs. During the arrest in Yakima police say they were able to seize some 77,000 fentanyl pills, $17,000 in cash along with other drugs and firearms.
Curtice says the number of opioid related deaths have been increasing in Yakima County for years and he expects the numbers to grow in Yakima throughout the spring and summer.