Drug overdose deaths slightly decline but crisis is far from over in the Bay Area

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Recent data from the Center for Disease Control says the number of overdose deaths in the United States declined slightly last year. It’s only the 2nd yearly decline since the national drug epidemic began more than 30 years ago.

The CDC estimates overdose deaths have declined 3% from 2022 to 2023. Advocates say that news is promising, but people should continue educating themselves about the dangers of drug use.

“We are hopeful. We are hopeful that these trends are coming down, as they have been crushing with the past years of overdose statistics,” said Dr. Cheryl Ho, Santa Clara Co. Behavioral Health Dept. 

Dr. Ho says, although national numbers declined some, the crisis isn’t over. Santa Clara County’s data board shows overdose deaths increased from 195 deaths in 2022 to 228 in 2023, but Dr. Ho says they now have more tools to combat the drug crisis.

“We have really increased our prevention efforts through public awareness campaigns. We have increased our harm reduction efforts through county-wide distribution of Naloxone. We’ve also stepped up a number of treatment efforts. So, our hope is that all of these efforts combined, across Santa Clara County and as well as nationwide, we’re really hoping that it’s moving the needle on the overdose crisis,” said Dr. Ho. 

Since 1999, over a million people have died from a drug overdose in the United States, according to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics. Dean Shold is co-founder of FentCheck, an organization that provides fentanyl test strips and Narcan to schools and nightclubs in the Bay Area.

“What we’re seeing now is a change where younger people who have never used any opioid substances, other than what may have been prescribed by a doctor, are starting to use it,” said Shold. 

Drug Abuse Statistics show that in the U.S., opioids like fentanyl are a factor in 7 of 10 drug overdose deaths.

“We are keeping people alive through Narcan, which is fantastic, but we need to look at how we can actually prevent overdoses and not just prevent death,” said Shold. 

For more information: Narcan in Santa Clara County and FentCheck fentanyl testing strips. 

You can also call 9-8-8

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.