Fentanyl Crisis Hits Bay Area

It’s a drug so powerful that can it can kill a person just through touch. And it’s increasingly lurking in popular pain killers bought and sold on California’s streets.

A new NBC Bay Area investigation has found that the deadly drug Fentanyl has been responsible for at least 130 deaths in the Bay since 2015 -- a number that is quickly rising.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, far more powerful than morphine or heroin. When prescribed in small regulated doses -- typically through a patch -- it can provide immense relief for acute pain. But in its unregulated powdered form, it’s deadly; so deadly, that it can cause an overdose just through contact with the skin.

Why the Growth in Popularity?

The rise of Fentanyl use is a facet of America’s opioid epidemic. More and more, the drug is being “cut” with other powerful opioids like heroin or oxycodone to create an even deadlier combination. The dark web is also fueling its rise, experts say.

In 2016, San Francisco saw 27 deaths from Fentanyl, up from 18 the previous year. That number is already at 14 this year. Alameda saw 14 last year and Contra Costa saw 10.


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