An increase in drug overdose deaths in Santa Barbara County is being driven by fentanyl, and the Sheriff’s Office, backed by a coalition of community leaders, is taking another step to reverse that trend by distributing free naloxone starting this week.

The latest overdose death statistics from the Sheriff’s Office show a total of 168 drug overdose deaths in 2022, with 115 of those, or 69%, related to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid often used by drug manufacturers and dealers to cut or even replace other drugs.

That compares to 133 overdose deaths in 2021, with 78 of those, or 59%, related to fentanyl, and 113 overdose deaths in 2020, with 37, or 33%, related to fentanyl.

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County Reporter/Associate Editor

Lee Central Coast Newspapers associate editor Mike Hodgson covers Santa Barbara County government and events and issues in Santa Ynez Valley. Follow him on Twitter @MHodgsonSYVNews.

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