Drug overdose data shows an alarming trend in recent years

King County data indicates massive increase in fentanyl deaths from 2008 to 2020.

Source: King County Medical Examiner’s Office

Source: King County Medical Examiner’s Office

Drug overdose deaths in King County seem to be on a concerning trend in recent years.

King County recorded 510 drug or alcohol related deaths in 2020, the highest measured in more than 10 years. The year before saw 422 overdose deaths, while 367 have already been recorded in 2021 (as of July 14).

In an alarming trend, fentanyl-related deaths have drastically increased in the last decade. Between 2008 and 2015, there were rarely ever more than 12 fentanyl-related overdose deaths in a year.

According to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, in 2020 there were more than 170 deaths attributable to fentanyl.

A little more than halfway into 2021, the county has already recorded over 160 fentanyl deaths, with more than 50 toxicology results still pending.

Methamphetamine-involved deaths have also been on an almost exponential incline in King County. County data indicates that in 2008, there were only 16 methamphetamine overdose deaths, while there 236 recorded in 2020.

With over 1,700 reported overdose deaths in 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates a 37 percent increase in Washington state from the year before.

The CDC data also show a national trend of increasing overdose deaths with an estimated yearly increase of nearly 30 percent.

While the social isolatiion and stress during the pandemic may not have played a major part in the long-term picture of the trend, experts and studies are showing that it certainly did not help.

A CDC survey study found that at one point during the pandemic, 40 percent of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance use. A little more than 30 percent admitted to experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, while 26 percent reported symptoms of trauma or a stress-related disorder.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bothell-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bothell-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Northshore Utility District Logo
Northshore Utility District schedules special meetings

The agency is conducting interviews for replacement commissioners.

file photo
Independent investigation conducted after Lynnwood Jail death

Cause of death determined to be a suicide by medical examiner.

Cows at Tollgate Farm Park in North Bend. Photo by Conor Wilson/Valley Record
State’s dairy workers begin earning overtime with new law

“This bill corrects a historic injustice,” said Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines).

The U.S. The Forest Service announced that camp fires are prohibited in the Mt.Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest beginning July 30. File photo
Fires banned in Snoqualmie National Forest

The U.S. The Forest Service announced that camp fires are prohibited in… Continue reading

A Darigold dairy worker practices picketing as a strike is approved by the union. Photo courtesy of Julia Issa
Puget Sound Darigold workers on verge of strike amid contract negotiations

Workers cite lack of medical leave, outsourcing and bad-faith negotiations as reason for strike.

Critical race theory became a political buzzword last fall after Gig Harbor resident Christopher Rufo (right) joined commentator Tucker Carlson on Fox News. (Screenshot from YouTube broadcast)
Educational merit of critical race theory sparks heated debate

In Washington, schools have seen parents protest and threaten to remove their children from schools.

The King County Courthouse. File photo
Sexual assault leads to calls for closing King County Courthouse

Crime is rising in the ’dangerous environment that has surrounded our seat of government.’

Courtesy of the Washington State Department of Health
COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations are rising in Washington

Data suggests the vaccine is effective in preventing hospitalization for COVID-19

File photo
King County Council OKs millions for courts overwhelmed by pandemic backlog

Some lawyers testified that the backlog has created an “access to justice” problem.

Most Read