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Overdose Deaths From Meth, Fentanyl Rising Dramatically In San Diego County

This undated photo provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Phoenix Division shows a closeup of the fentanyl-laced sky blue pills known on the street as "Mexican oxy.
(Drug Enforcement Administration
This undated photo provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Phoenix Division shows a closeup of the fentanyl-laced sky blue pills known on the street as "Mexican oxy.

San Diego County released new information Tuesday on overdose deaths from methamphetamine and fentanyl, and the news was not good.

“The number of deaths due to methamphetamine is continuing to increase, more deaths this year than before," San Diego County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Steven Campman said. "The deaths due to fentanyl has hugely increased.”

Overdose Deaths From Meth, Fentanyl Rising Dramatically In San Diego County
Listen to this story by John Carroll.

Campman spoke with a calm demeanor that belied the magnitude of the problem.

San Diego Access and Crisis Line: (888) 724-7240

SAMHSA’s National Helpline:
(800) 662-HELP (4357);
TTY: (800) 487-4889

The information comes from the just-released report cards from the Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force and the Meth Strike Force.

In the last five years, total meth-caused deaths jumped from 377 to 722 last year — a 92% increase. The situation with fentanyl is even direr. And while there were 33 deaths in 2016, the number rose to 462 in 2020, a staggering 1,300% jump.

RELATED: Black Opioid Overdose Deaths Are Increasing Faster Than Whites, Study Finds

VIDEO: Overdose Deaths From Meth & Fentanyl Rising Dramatically In San Diego County

Campman said people often buy fentanyl injected into counterfeit pills of Oxycodone or Xanax. That highlights a larger cautionary tale that you never know what you’re getting when you buy drugs on the street.

“We’ve seen people who thought they bought cocaine and died of fentanyl toxicity. There was no cocaine in them at all," Campman said.

Overdoses from meth and fentanyl primarily kill men — from their mid-30s to their mid-60s. But perhaps more disturbingly, the crisis isn’t limited to adults.

“The hospitals have seen infants and little kids in emergency rooms experiencing fentanyl toxicity," said Campman.

If you’re struggling with addiction or know someone who is, help is available. Go to sandiegocounty.gov/hhsa/programs/bhs/ or you can call (888) 724-7240.