While the U.S. government continues to put out severe warnings about the spread of coronavirus variants (that are actually weaker than the original), it is failing to stop the alarming rise in deaths from the deadly drug fentanyl.
According to the Wall Street Journal article published last Friday, “Fentanyl Woes Gripping Western U.S,” while 254 people died last year in San Francisco from COVID-19, over 700 died from drug overdoses, an increase of 61 percent.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that has wreaked havoc on the East Coast for years and has now become a huge health issue in the Western U.S. One user interviewed said fentanyl is more devastating than heroin.
The Wall Street Journal reports that in Seattle, “Overdose deaths involving fentanyl rose 57 percent in 2020 over the previous year, according to data from the county medical examiner.”
In the Las Vegas area, the increase from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl was up over 160 percent, while in Los Angeles, fentanyl was responsible for 26 percent more deaths among the homeless in just the first seven months of 2020.
Last September, the Wall Street Journal article revealed, “There were 70,630 drug deaths, a record… opioids including fentanyl were involved in about 70 percent of overdose deaths in 2019, according to the CDC.”
The data for this year so far is even more dire. Matt Haney, who sits on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, is quoted as, “It’s an unprecedented spiraling, directly connected to the introduction of fentanyl in our city.”
According to the article:
“Fentanyl can be 50 times as potent as heroin, making it possible to overdose on tiny amounts. As a result, when fentanyl hits the street in force, more people tend to die. That is what has happened in New England and the Rust Belt, where beginning nearly a decade ago, it was often mixed into heroin. In some places in the Eastern U.S., it has all but replaced heroin as a popular street opioid.”
COVID Lockdowns Exacerbated the Problem
As in so many areas where the extended lockdowns have caused serious health problems for millions of Americans, public health officials point to emotional isolation and stress from job losses as reasons for increased drug use deaths. 
In Los Angeles and San Francisco, the significant homeless population, facing the closing down of shelters and other living spaces due to the lockdowns, were isolated with no available support to help them when they overdosed from fentanyl and other drugs.
The Wall Street Journal quoted Kristen Marshall, who manages a San Francisco non-profit coalition working on overdose prevention: “Isolation is also the thing that puts people at the absolute highest risk of overdose death.”
The New York Times published the 14 April article, “Overdose Deaths Have Surged During the Pandemic, C.D.C. Data Shows.” The article states,
“The surge [in drug overdose deaths] represents an increasingly urgent public health crisis, one that has drawn less attention and fewer resources while the nation has battled the coronavirus pandemic.” 
TRENDPOST: This reveals the hypocrisy of The New York Times. As the Trends Journal has noted for many months, the NYT is one of the loudest voices amplifying the fear and anxiety generated by government officials and their health experts over temporary spikes in coronavirus variants, which are causing fewer and fewer deaths. 
The New York Times has been a champion of draconian lockdown measures that have devastated the lives and livelihoods of scores of millions while blackballing those voices opposed to the measures. 
Yet, it’s their continuing promoting of the COVID War and warnings of virus variants that are causing the increased isolation and stress, thus exacerbating the very problem of overdose deaths the NYT cites as “an increasingly urgent public health crisis.”

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