UNION CITY, Calif. — In a span of 24 hours, Union City witnessed five suspected fentanyl overdoses that claimed two lives, including the life of a 17-year-old. Union City Police Sgt. Jean Jimenez says the police department is actively investigating whether these cases are linked to a single source.
“Five overdoses in a 24-hour period in our city is highly unusual,” Jimenez told the East Bay Echo.
On Sept. 6, the Union City Police Department issued a press release stating it had responded to five suspected fentanyl overdoses in a 24-hour period spanning Sept. 5 to Sept. 6. The first person found unconscious near Medallion Drive and Whipple Road was pronounced dead after being transported to St. Rose Hospital in Hayward. Later that day, a 17-year-old was discovered deceased near the Hayward-Union City border, while nearby, another unresponsive individual was successfully revived by first responders. Early on Sept. 6, the Alameda County Fire Department and police department attended to an unresponsive individual in a restroom on Western Avenue, and another individual was found unconscious in a nearby vehicle. Both individuals received opioid-overdose antidote Narcan and were transported to Washington Hospital in Fremont.
Union City police officers have been trained to recognize the signs of opioid overdose, Jimenez said, and have been carrying Narcan since 2018.
Jimenez said the department is investigating whether the supply responsible for the overdoses originated from a single, contaminated batch of narcotics that entered the city.
While overdose deaths related to heroin have gone down and overdose deaths related to prescription opioids have leveled off, the rise of more potent synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, drove a nearly 7½-fold national increase in opioid-related overdose deaths across the country between 2015 and 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.