Marin County saw a fourfold increase in fentanyl-related overdose deaths during the last two weeks of February, prompting officials to issue a standing health advisory. (Illustration via Pagransen)

Officials in Marin County have sent out a health advisory following what they say is a concerning uptick in overdose deaths by fentanyl in recent weeks.

Over a 14-day period, Marin experienced five suspected overdose deaths related to fentanyl, which is an approximately fourfold increase in the usual rate, according to county health officials.

Due to the cluster of overdose deaths, the county sent out an alert to local clinicians and those who serve people who use substances.

“Since February 14, preliminary toxicology suggests the victims ingested fentanyl in combination with methamphetamine,” reads the public health advisory sent out Friday.

“Spikes in fentanyl-related deaths may be due to increased concentration and intentional use of fentanyl or increased contamination of fentanyl in other substances.”

Marin Health and Human Services

The county said there have been increases in these substances found in wastewater and there has been an increase of calls to 911 for non-fatal overdoses.

“Spikes in fentanyl-related deaths may be due to increased concentration and intentional use of fentanyl or increased contamination of fentanyl in other substances,” said the county health department.

Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for people under 55 in Marin County.

Providers who work with people who use drugs are asked to share the following with them:

• Keep Narcan handy and remember that you might need to use multiple doses. You can get free Narcan by visiting OD Free Marin.

• Test drugs before using. Fentanyl strips are available at the Ritter Center in San Rafael.

• “Start low and go slow,” meaning start with a low dose.

• Do not use drugs alone. If no one will be close by while you are using, call Never Use Alone at 800-484-3731.

• For treatment options, call the Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Access Line 24/7 at 888-818-1115.

Katy St. Clair got her start in journalism by working in the classifieds department at the East Bay Express during the height of alt weeklies, then sweet talked her way into becoming staff writer, submissions editor, and music editor. She has been a columnist in the East Bay Express, SF Weekly, and the San Francisco Examiner. Starting in 2015, she begrudgingly scaled the inverted pyramid at dailies such as the Vallejo Times-Herald, The Vacaville Reporter, and the Daily Republic. She has her own independent news site and blog that covers the delightfully dysfunctional town of Vallejo, California, where she also collaborates with the investigative team at Open Vallejo. A passionate advocate for people with developmental disabilities, she serves on both the Board of the Arc of Solano and the Arc of California. She lives in Vallejo.