Media Awareness

A Disaster in Plain Sight

Fentanyl is a public health crisis. Is the city of San Francisco treating it like one?

A man smoke from a pipe on public street outside
San Francisco Chronicle - logo
Originally Published: February 2, 2022

In San Francisco, roughly 1,310 people died from drug overdoses in 2020 and 2021, almost twice the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly three-quarters of the victims were found to have fentanyl in their systems. The toll would be higher if not for Narcan, the antidote now used more than 500 times a month to yank people back from the brink of death.

Many of the city’s dead have been found within blocks of each other in the Tenderloin and South of Market, which have long shouldered San Francisco’s most pressing problems. A disproportionate number of the victims are older Black men.

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