California sees spike in overdose deaths amid pandemic

State News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGET) – The attorney general and law enforcement leaders from across the state are addressing the climbing rates of overdoses across the state amid the pandemic. 

“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of these plagues are exacerbating,” AG Xavier Becerra said. 

Attorney General Xavier Becerra referred to overdose as one of those plagues. Law enforcement leaders across the state are alarmed by the rising rates of overdose deaths.

The attorney general said Friday within the last two years there’s been a 25% increase in drug overdose deaths in California.

He pointed to San Diego, noting a 50% increase in overdose deaths in July and August compared to a couple of months leading up to the pandemic.

“In some of our counties, there are more deaths from overdoses than there are from COVID-19. For Law enforcement, for healthcare providers, for all of us who care about our communities, this is a major challenge,” Becerra said.

Nationally suspected overdose deaths continue to spike since the pandemic started, with an 18% increase in March, 29% in April and 42% in May compared to 2019.

This weekend, law enforcement agencies across the state are hoping more Californians participate in the national prescription drug take-back program.

They note the majority of abused prescription drugs come from the medicine cabinets of family and friends.

“There’s no questions asked, you just drop your prescription medication in the bin and you can get these out of our medicine cabinets and out of our homes so someone struggling with this doesn’t have free access to those medications,” Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said. 

The California Department of Justice has settled with some opioids manufacturers for their participation in the opioid crisis.

The department has an investigation ongoing into the marketing, sale, and distribution practices of some of these companies today.

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