More than 2 weeks into the new year and already 3 people have died of drug overdoses in Yakima County. Yakima County Coroner Jim Curtice says overdose deaths continue in Yakima County.

A record amount of people died in Yakima County in 2021

A record setting 98 people died of drug overdoses in 2021. Curtice says the number grew from 87 in November to 98 last month.  It's the largest number of drug overdoses ever recorded in Yakima County. Curtice says upwards of 60% to 70% of the deaths were directly connected to the deadly drug fentanyl. Many people who died were taking what they thought was Percocet but instead they took fentanyl. He warns that some of the blue pills with the number 30 stamped on them are counterfeit drugs laced with deadly fentanyl.

Curtice says he expects even more people to die of overdoses this year

So far this year 3 people have died of drug overdoses in Yakima County. Curtice says every year the numbers are rising. For example in 2020 73 people died of overdoses. 50 people died of an overdose in all of 2019 in Yakima County. 38 overdosed and died in 2018.

Curtice says many feel the impact of the pandemic

Curtice believes many of the overdose deaths happened because people felt isolated at the beginning of last year because of the pandemic. He says many people who where clean of drugs at the beginning of the pandemic relapsed and died over the last two years. He says he's concerned that if more restrictions are put in place that more people will die feeling lonely and isolated.

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