Yakima County Coroner Jim Curtice has a warning for those who use drugs in Yakima. Curtice says that in the past two days he has seen 4 overdose deaths and he fears a large amount of fentanyl-containing pills are being sold on the streets of Yakima. He hopes he won’t see another wave of overdoses in the coming weeks. Curtice says he doesn’t know if a warning will make a difference for those who use drugs, but he hopes someone will hear the message.
Number of overdoses nears record number of deaths last year
Curtice says 41 people have died of drug overdoses so far this year in Yakima County. He says Yakima County had a record 98 overdoses last year, half of which were related to fentanyl. But Yakima could break that record this year with 41 so far in the middle of the year.
Drug overdoses are killing people across the state, not just in Yakima County. Washington State Department of Health officials say 2,000 people died of drug overdoses in the state in 2021, a 66% increase from 2019.
Curtice says US open border drugs are now in Yakima County
So where does fentanyl come from? Curtice thinks it comes in large quantities from Mexico through the open US border.
Curtice says he works closely with families of victims and speaks to various groups in the valley about the dangers of fentanyl and the challenge authorities have in areas like Yakima County.