Fentanyl overdose deaths in 2023 hit record high for Seattle area

1,057 people have died from fentanyl overdoses in 2023.

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
Washington’s most populous county has broken yet another record for fentanyl overdose deaths.

According to data from the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, 1,057 people have died from fentanyl overdoses in 2023.

The majority of the almost 1,300 fatal overdoses or alcohol poisonings in King County are from fentanyl.

Two months ago, the county surpassed last year’s record number of 1,001 overdose deaths in the county.

The Seattle Times reported earlier this year that “Washington state now has the fastest-rising drug deaths in the nation.”

It was revealed in January 2023 that due to the record number of fentanyl overdose deaths in King County, the medical examiner was running out of places to store the dead bodies.

An analysis of the data showed that fentanyl overdose deaths have been rising since 2016 and then spiked radically in 2020. According to the data, there were 109 deadly fentanyl overdoses in 2019, 168 in 2020, and 385 in 2021.

KOMO News reported earlier in 2023 that approximately four people die from a drug overdose every day in the Seattle area and that from January to the end of July, EMS crews in King County responded to 4,868 overdoses, significantly more than the 2,947 during the same time period in 2022.

The Washington State Legislature was gaveled into a special session earlier this year to pass a new law criminalizing drug possession while creating new options for substance abuse treatment after failing to do so during its regular session.

Seattle, the state and county’s largest city, refused to follow suit and in June 2023, the far-left City Council rejected legislation that would have empowered the City Attorney to prosecute drug possession and public drug use. As a result, the council de facto decriminalized possession and public drug use. However, months later, the council finally passed a watered-down version of the legislation following public backlash.

On the county’s buses and trains, meth was found in 100 percent of air samples analyzed and 98 percent of surface samples, while fentanyl was found in a quarter of the air samples and almost half of the surface samples, according to a recent study.
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