Opioid Deaths

The Medical Examiner in Santa Clara County investigates and certifies all opioid overdoses. The Medical Examiner most commonly certifies mixed drug intoxication (meaning more than one drug was consumed that led to death) and it is not uncommon to certify deaths in which opioids are being consumed with alcohol, which is particularly deadly since both are central nervous system depressants.

The Medical Examiner has certified a number of deaths involving counterfeit opioids. In these circumstances, the decedents thought they were buying and consuming Oxycodone, Xanax​, Vicodin or Norco but instead ingested a lethal dose of Fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid and is particularly dangerous as it is 80-100 times m​ore potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than pure heroin.

Counterfeit medicine is fake medicine.

Counterfeit medicine is illegal.

To date, the Medical Examiner-Coroner Office has investigated multiple fatalities due to fake medicine. The Medical Examiner also confirms three deaths involving U-47700, a synthetic opioid.

The Medical Examiner continues to see fentanyl-related drug deaths which include acryl fentanyl, acetyl fentanyl, butyryl fentanyl, furanyl fentanyl and most recently a drug recovered from a scene which was positive for cyclopropyl fentanyl, methoxyacetyl fentanyl and 4-ANPP. 

In 2016, there were 158 drug related deaths, and of these, 78 were from opioids (of the 78, there were 11 Fentanyl, 2 synthetic opioids U-47700 and 22 heroin)

In 2017, there were 176 drug relate​d deaths, and of these, 70 were from opioids (of the 70, there were 16 Fentanyl deaths (including synthetic Fentanyl), 1 synthetic opioid U-47700 and 24 heroin)

In 2018, thus far (January 1, 2018 through August 13, 2018), we have 27 confirmed opioid deaths and of these, 4 were related to Fentanyl and 11 were from heroin (1 case had combined methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, 4-ANPP and cocaine intoxication)​​​​​

If medication is not prescribed to you or you are buying pills off the street, you have no idea what is in the pill in terms of the type of drug or the concentration of drug.​​​


Click link below to access Santa Clara County Behavioral Health's webpage on California's Opioid Crisis​https://bhsd.sccgov.org/information-resources/opioid-overdose-prevention-project/californias-opioid-crisis


Click link below to access Santa Clara County Public Health's Opioid Fact Sheet 


Click link below to access statewide and county level data for opioid statistics


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