Many of the deaths are linked to people who are not aware that fake pills or other narcotics are laced with fentanyl.
The number of overdose deaths attributed to fentanyl in Santa Clara County this year was expected to surpass last year’s total of 88 — which was more than triple the number of deaths in 2019 — according to county officials.
Between January and August, 49 deaths in the county were fentanyl-related, a number that is expected to increase. Many of the deaths were linked to people who were not aware that fake pills or other narcotics were laced with fentanyl, county officials said.
Much of the fentanyl being seized in Santa Clara County is not pharmaceutical grade but is illicitly manufactured in Mexico and brought across the border, Buckelew told Patch in an interview Wednesday.
“You have people going after this opioid high,” Buckelew said. “They seek the highest heights. The line between that and the overdose death is very fine. You see more and more people tipping into fatal overdoses, unfortunately.”
Law enforcement agencies in the county continued to seize large quantities of fake fentanyl-containing pills as well as pure powdered fentanyl. People as young as 12 or 13 years of age — who don’t know that a certain drug contains fentanyl and don’t take any harm reduction steps — have become victims, Buckelew said.
The hardest part of his job is talking to parents of the deceased, he said.
“Young people are naive or inexperienced,” Buckelew said. “You just have a decision that they could not ostensibly foresee because many of them don’t know what they’re taking. It’s tragic, and it’s a complete Waste