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Fentanyl accounts for over half of illegal drugs seized in San Francisco this year, police say

A pile of colorful, plastic-wrapped drugs on a digital scale.
Police said Tenderloin officers have arrested 533 people for selling narcotics so far in 2023, nearly surpassing last year's 566 arrests. | Source: Courtesy SFPD

Fentanyl accounted for more than half of illegal drugs seized in San Francisco so far in 2023, according to police.

The San Francisco Police Department said in a news release Friday that of the 123 kilograms of narcotics seized this year, fentanyl confiscated in Tenderloin neighborhood alone accounted for 80 kilograms.

READ MORE: Drug Overdoses: What To Know About Fentanyl in the Bay Area

Police said Tenderloin officers have arrested 533 people for selling narcotics so far in 2023, nearly surpassing the 566 total arrests in 2022.

San Francisco police Chief Bill Scott also noted the total amount of illegal drugs seized this year have exceeded last year's bulk of seized narcotics.

"We are committed to getting these drugs off our streets, and we are holding these dealers accountable. San Francisco should be a safe place for residents, businesses, and visitors to enjoy," he said in a statement.

READ MORE: Tenderloin Drug Suspects Walk Free Because of Judges, San Francisco DA Says

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said law enforcement in Tenderloin is a top priority for her administration.

"We will continue to build on this momentum to disrupt open-air drug markets and the sale of illegal goods to make San Francisco safe for everyone," she said.

According to the police department, fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, has increased the number of fatal overdoses in the city in recent years.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse said it is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and can be fatal even in small amounts.

The California Department of Public Health and multiple Bay Area counties have been seeking to educate the public about the fentanyl crisis, which has been severely affecting the region and the rest of the United States. Experts have also urged authorities to address the crisis with more urgency.