BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — A new CDC report released this month estimated there were more than, 100,000 drug overdose deaths across the nation over the past year.
That’s an increase of nearly 30% from the previous year.
That problem is also taking place in Kern County, local law enforcement agencies said they are already seeing more overdoses this year than before.
In California, there has been an increase with over 6,000 deaths in 2020 and nearly 10,000 in 2021. That being a 43% increase.
That problem is unfortunately also taking place in Kern County and as the CDC reported, the highest Opioid they are seeing in these deaths is Fentanyl.
“There has been more seizures of Fentanyl in 2021 versus previous years,” said Sgt. Robert Pair with the Bakersfield Police Department.
Whether it’s a pill, powder, or comes in the form of candy, or eye droppers – Fentanyl is a powerful drug that can kill you in any form.
“The issue with Fentanyl of course is that rarely do we see Fentanyl in its true form,” said Pair.
Pair said oftentimes, people don’t even know they are taking Fentanyl.
“It’s either in, nonpharmaceutical pills, so fake Vicodin, fake oxy cotton, so people are taking one thing and in reality, they are getting something that of course can potentially kill them,” said Pair.
The Kern County Sheriff’s Office is also seeing an increase in Fentanyl-related overdoses this year alone.
“Our latest tally is 153 confirmed Fentanyl-related overdoses this year in Kern County which has far surpassed the total for all of 2020 already,” said Danielle KernKamp, the Pio with KCSO.
Across the nation, the CDC reported a grim milestone that for the first time – drug overdose deaths have topped 100,000.
Opioids such as Fentanyl accounted for more than 75% of those deaths.
Pair also added that these drugs are not created in sterile lab environments which is why the dosages can change.
“The danger is somebody buys something expecting to take one thing and ultimately gets a fatal dosage of a synthetic powerful Opioid,” said Pair.
He said their goal at BPD is to help people understand that it doesn’t matter how much you take – it can be deadly.
“If we can change just a couple of people and have them consider that before they take it, that’s ultimately a success because we’re saving lives,” said Pair.
If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse – there are resources available to you. Locally – you can call Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Substance Line at 1-866-266-4898. Nationally you can also call 1-800-662-help (4357).