by Trevor Schakohl
Los Angeles County saw accidental fentanyl overdose deaths increase more than twelvefold from 2016 to 2021, according to a new County Public Health Department report.
Accidental fentanyl overdoses killed 1,504 people in the county last year, a roughly 1,280% rise compared to the 109-individual death toll in 2016, according to the report released Tuesday. Total accidental drug overdose deaths more than doubled in that time, with deaths from accidental opioid overdoses and methamphetamine overdoses both rising by over 300%.
Adults from 26 to 39 years old had the highest accidental fentanyl overdose rate of any age group in 2020, while 18- to 25-year-olds had the highest fentanyl overdose hospitalization rate that year, based on the report’s data. Men died of accidental fentanyl overdoses at a far higher rate than women.
District Attorney George Gascón and Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer announced a new collaborative working group the same day aimed at ending the fentanyl crisis. Ferrer argued that the data indicates “tragedies resulting from fentanyl are indiscriminately impacting all populations regardless of age, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.”
DA Gascón was joined by @lapublichealth Dir. Dr. Barbara Ferrer & other officials to announce the creation of a working group to address the #fentanyl crisis through prevention, education & enforcement. pic.twitter.com/13JIRlHlO3
— George Gascón (@LADAOffice) November 30, 2022
“We are bringing together the county’s public health experts, education leaders, community advocates and law enforcement professionals to support and utilize evidence-based and effective approaches to stopping the toll fentanyl is taking,” Gascón said. “This multifaceted approach is necessary because if the failed ‘War on Drugs’ of the ’90s has taught us one thing, it is that we cannot incarcerate our way out of a public health issue. Enforcement is not enough.”
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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Trevor Schakohl is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.