Death Toll Rises Over Fentanyl-Related Overdose!: Seattle Public Health

Last year, a record 310 homeless people died in the Seattle area, highlighting the region’s battle to house the thousands of residents living on its streets. These 310 deaths surpassed the previous record of 195 homeless deaths set in 2018, the Seattle Times reported, and marked a 65% jump over 2021.

35 people died from natural causes at a much younger age. The medical examiner found the average age of death for homeless people was 48.

10 people died from hypothermia or exposure, and seven died from suicide.

The county has directed its public health, human services, and homelessness agencies to survey homeless providers to find out what is needed to help lessen these fatal overdoses. The county is also increasing its fund for harm-reduction efforts.

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Last year, more than 10,000 kits containing naloxone were distributed by Public Health – Seattle & King County, a medication that can reverse opioid overdoses, and about 100,000 fentanyl test strips. The group is leading public awareness movements about synthetic opioids and helping people find treatment.

Fentanyl has been driving overdoses in the county more broadly, regardless of people’s housing status. As of November, it was involved in 70% of all confirmed overdose deaths in the county in 2022, according to a current statement by Public Health – Seattle & King County. Brad Finegood, said researchers keep watching the monthly overdose numbers, hoping to see the rates flatten. The count conducted in the county last year found that 13,368 people were living outside.

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