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Fentanyl Overdoses are Claiming Younger People’s Lives in Santa Clara County

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Fentanyl can be found laced into other drugs in pill form. Santa Clara County officials say that many people who die from fentanyl thought they were taking far less potent drugs. (Courtesy Santa Clara County)

Deaths from fentanyl overdoses have been on the rise during the pandemic. In Santa Clara County, the ages of the victims are trending younger, according to an analysis by KQED and the Documenting COVID-19 project at Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation.

Fentanyl can be laced into pills that look like common painkillers — and thanks in part to COVID-19, buying these drugs online has become even more convenient. Now, parents and officials alike are trying to educate kids and community members about how much more lethal this synthetic opioid really is.

GuestJulie Small, KQED criminal justice & immigration reporter

Columbia University students Mohar Chatterjee and Kyra Sense contributed to this story.

Here Are Resources for Opioid Addiction in the Bay Area:


More information about opioid addiction and fentanyl can be found on the Choose Change California websiteSanta Clara County Behavioral Health Services treats people struggling with stress and substance use issues, including fentanyl use, through a program called Gateway, and the phone number is 1-800-488-9919.

Elsewhere in the Bay Area, San Francisco County offers behavioral health care and services for addiction and substance abuse treatmentAlameda County offers similar services to people struggling with addiction.

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