Fentanyl overdose deaths spike in San Luis Obispo County

October 23, 2019

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department officials are warning of an “alarming” increase in deaths from fentanyl overdoses over the past five months.

Between May and October, 10 people died in SLO County as a result of toxic levels of fentanyl, according to the health department. Over the past four years, there were two deaths or fewer annually as a result of toxic levels of fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 100 times more potent than morphine and 30-50 times more potent than heroin. The opioid is used in health care to provide pain relief for severely ill or injured patients, such as those who have cancer or are recovering from surgery.

But, fentanyl is also illegally manufactured and sold outside of health care settings. Illicit fentanyl is sold as a powder or in other forms, including pills that look like prescription opioids.

Sometimes illicit fentanyl is mixed with other drugs, including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, with or without the user’s knowledge. Since fentanyl is so strong, a tiny amount can cause a person to stop breathing, according to the health department.

Toxicology reports from recent SLO County deaths show fentanyl was mixed with opioids and with stimulants, such as methamphetamine. Individuals who use stimulants may be less aware of the risks and signs of opioid overdose and less likely to have overdose reversal medicine available, health officials said.

Illicit fentanyl could be present in any drug bought on local streets, said SLO County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein in a statement.

“Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones to overdose,” Borenstein said. “We want everyone to know: illicit fentanyl is here in San Luis Obispo County and it brings a high risk of overdose. Any drug you buy on the street may be contaminated with lethal levels of fentanyl.”

The safest course of action is to not use illicit drugs, according to health officials.

For those who choose to use illicit drugs, they can reduce the risks by obtaining naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, which can reverse an opioid overdose. Drug users can also use testing strips to test for fentanyl; undergo treatment; and be aware of the signs of an overdose and ready to call 911.


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AmericaTheFree

It has gotten to these epidemic proportions for two very definitive reasons, 1. The support of the misguided notion that big pharma’ has our best interests in mind ahead of their stock holders and bottom line, and 2. Ignoring this epidemic before it included a threat to the white “euromerican” population.

Those two very definitive reasons will more than likely keep it at epidemic levels; as big pharma’ is so entrenched in this countries psyche even when it kills people it’s written off as acceptable as long as what’s prescribed to them does no harm (if there is actually such a substance), and, most “euromericans” in positions to make changes don’t give a rats ass about what happens to those defined as outside of their designation of “euromerican” and their racist view(s) .


DocT

Legally prescribed drugs cause more deaths than all the illegal drugs combined. Look it up.


Instead of a propaganda campaign to create fear of cannabis and put cannabis users in jail, there should be an informational campaign to educate people about the danger of going to doctors who prescribe. They are more deadly than drug cartels.


Russ J

Now we can test the limits of getting super high on drugs and all the first responders will pump us full of naloxone. Better yet, we’ll get our own Narcan and have it available when we reach our drugged out limit. Now that is some sporty drug abuse. OBTW – Sackler family should be in jail. Everyone of them that profited from their Oxycontin product.


LAPS

Overdose characteristics for fentanyl are a bit different than stated in the press release.

A fentanyl Overdose happens very quickly. People tend to get very rigid, chest becomes stiff like a piece of wood, cannot breath, sometimes grasp their throat and die fast! Administer Naloxone immediately if you suspect an overdose. The window period is very short with a fent overdose.

If you can’t get their mouth open to do rescue breathing, clamp their lips closed with your fingers and breath in to their nostrils. If you have any questions please feel free to call or text SLO Bangers Syringe Exchange and Overdose Prevention Program at 805-458-0123


Jorge Estrada

So they die fast, like jumping off a cliff? So what do we do about that? During WWII the Japanese invented Meth, great for their special one way pilot missions. Today the drug is stronger and everywhere, I call it drug warfare but they die slow. Fast is best, for education.


ehuber34

With local defenders of the opioid industry (Debbie Arnold) blocking alternative methods of chronic pain management this will only get WAY WORSE.


oldtimer

I am not sure why this fact based statement offends anyone; unless they have not done any research and are emotional keyboard warriors thinking with feelings. Lobbyist much, the job of a politician. Hence all the York mountain Peschong the ding dong drama, chevron sponsoring peschong for pro fracking, etc.


AmericaTheFree

Why? Here, lets explore that question…

She’s a member of The Party of Trump The Pervert, most who post here are Trumpster’s Dumpsters…

Exploration completed!


Snoid

So we’ve invented a drug to combat another drug in the name of saving a drug addicts life. Drug addict are looked upon as scumbags,crackheads,crooks etc..Addiction comes in several flavors including alcoholism. Alcohol is celebrated, can be found everywhere, ruins and takes lives more than alcoholism. So when our government or?? create a fix for the common drunk who kills themselves or others with their addiction? Kinda hypocritical of mankind isn’t it? It’s about tax dollars isn’t it. Perhaps we assume a drug addict has no idea what their doing,hides inside and never gets in a vehicle. A drunk knows, but refrains before driving, therefore being in control? um..yeah right.


jimmy_me

New wine tasting rooms and new distilleries are front page news around here; these stories share the headlines with drunk drivers who kill people and get off easy. Any attempt to lower the legal blood alcohol limit for driving is met with outrage from the restaurant industry. Total hypocrisy. We all seem to do nothing but hope the next person killed is not us or one of our loved ones.