BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Kern County Coroner’s Office has released an official count of drug-related deaths for 2021.

The coroner’s office reports local deaths associated with the illicit opioid last year were 232, and 85% increase over 2020’s total of 125.

Kern County had a grand total of 492 overdose deaths for all drugs in 2021, according to the coroner.

Fentanyl is turning up not only as a substitute for heroin, but in virtually every street drug. In many cases, users don’t realize that’s what they’re taking.

You can learn more on the fentanyl epidemic in Kern County by viewing Robert Price’s award-winning reporting, “Fentanyl: The Counterfeit Killer.”