Seattle health officials blame drug crisis on racism

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Seattle Public Health addressed the continuing problem of drug overdoses and deaths in the city and King County as a whole, claiming that racism is one of the reasons for the crisis.

The finger-pointing was part of a statement that acknowledged that from 2021 to 2022 there was a 40% increase in overdose deaths, with fentanyl being a key culprit.

“The underlying root causes that have resulted in the current overdose crisis are, unfortunately, not ones that will be reversed overnight,” Seattle Public Health Communications Specialist Sharon Bogan said in a statement to local KIRO 7. “Structural factors, including lack of economic opportunities, social isolation, structural racism, criminalization of substance use disorders, housing stability, and stigma, are just some of the factors that will require long-term, systematic changes and resources at all levels, from federal to state to local.”

The statement came amid the revelation that the Seattle Fire Department has dealt with a staggering rise in overdoses in the past year.

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