SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco health officials say the number of people dying from drug overdoses is skyrocketing.
On Monday, city officials from the health department said the number of overdoses is trending in the wrong direction with 84 deaths in August. But that number is actually a tie with the month of January this year, which also saw 84 overdose deaths.
The city is on pace to have more overdose deaths than any year prior. The health department said if things in San Francisco continue at this rate, the city could see close to 850 deaths by year's end.
Health officials spoke out on the opioid epidemic on Monday to raise awareness and to urge anyone suffering from addiction to seek help.
"Here at the Department of Public Health we are working to prevent overdoses and save lives through a multitude of strategies and interventions and especially by making treatment and services, including medications for treatment, easily accessible to anyone who's ready," said Dr. Grant Colfax, San Francisco's public health director.
The city is launching a live dashboard for drug use trends in the city, which will help guide the city's policies on how best to address the fentanyl crisis.
"The dashboard features the most recent available data released to substance use treatment and overdoses. This data helps guide the City's response to the fentanyl emergency," San Francisco Department of Public Health officials said in a statement.
Officials said the dashboard will be updated on a monthly basis with preliminary unintentional overdose death numbers from the Chief Medical Examiner's Office. They will also break the data down by race and ethnicity annually.
The data show the majority of those overdose deaths came from fentanyl use, but xylazine use (also known as ‘tranq’), is on the rise and could be the next wave in the ongoing drug crisis.
If you are looking for substance abuse resources or need help with addiction, check the SF Department of Public Health website.
KTVU's Jana Katsuyama contributed to this report.