Drug overdose deaths rise in the West while they drop in the East

By Joel Achenbach: For More Info, Go Here…

Downstairs at the medical examiner’s office, the bodies lay side by side on stainless-steel tables and shelves, shrouded and anonymized in white bags, each person identifiable only by a protruding foot that had been toe-tagged.

Upstairs, Luke Rodda, the chief forensic toxicologist, looked over his morning docket and the terse reports from first responders.

Male, 33, “prior history of fentanyl overdose,” found at bus stop.

Male, 27, “white powder in baggie.”

Male, 51, found by construction worker, syringe next to him.

There had been at least nine apparent drug-related deaths over the previous three days in late January, Rodda said.

“This is our new norm now,” he said.

These individual tragedies are part of a national drug crisis that has shifted west. Drug overdoses are rising in many states west of the Mississippi, and dramatically so in California, even as they are falling across much of the East.

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