San Francisco, Jan 20 (IANS) In 2021, 650 people died of drug overdose in San Francisco, a 9 per cent drop from the previous year, according to data released by the City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
It was the first time the number of lives lost to drugs in the city dipped year over year in a decade following an unprecedented spike in deaths the year before from 441 in 2019 to 711 in 2020, reports Xinhua news agency.
In contrast, 430 people in the city died of Covid-19 in 2021.
The unfolding drug crisis pushed the city mayor London Breed to declare an emergency last month in the Tenderloin, the hardest-hit neighbourhood, according to a report by San Francisco Chronicle.
In 2020 and 2021, about 23 per cent of the overdose deaths and 60 percent of the drug incidents occurred in the Tenderloin, the report said.
As of Wednesday, 88 out of 400 additional beds planned under behavioural health reform legislation have opened in the city.
The city also plans to open a drug rehabilitation centre and a site where people can use drugs under medical supervision later this year.