A public health official in Seattle said on Tuesday that racism has contributed to the rise of drug overdoses in the city.
According to data released by King County, the number of fatal drug overdoses in the area increased significantly between 2021 and 2022 due to various factors. Sharon Bogan, a spokesperson for the public health department of Seattle and King County, said the rise in overdoses was largely due to structural racism and the region's economic situation.
"According to Bogan, the root causes of the opioid crisis are not going to be solved overnight. These include the lack of resources and economic opportunities, as well as structural racism and housing instability. These factors will require long-term solutions at the local, state, and federal levels."
King County recorded an average of 17 fatal overdoses per week in 2022, with most of these being caused by fentanyl.
NEW: Seattle-King County Public Health says the fentanyl overdose crisis is due to "structural racism" and "criminalization of substance use disorder."
How? Public Health refuses to explain.
More whites have died and drugs are legalized in the county. https://t.co/VZdpmsPSVO
— Jason Rantz on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) February 2, 2023
According to the report, the number of fatal overdoses has increased significantly between 2019 and 2021. The county noted that the number of deaths has jumped by 20% between 2019 and 2020.
King County has a needle exchange program, which allows people who use illicit drugs to exchange dirty needles for clean ones in an effort to reduce the harm caused by their actions.
"In response to the increasing number of fatal overdoses, the county has launched several syringe exchange programs. These programs allow people to exchange used and dirty needles for new ones."
In response to the growing number of drug overdoses, the state of Washington decriminalized the possession of illicit substances in 2021.
The county did not provide further details regarding the programs.
The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on Daily Caller.