Deaths from drug overdoses surge in SLO County

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office reported a record number of deaths from drug overdoses in 2020, according to the Paso Robles Daily News.

During the past year, at least 57 people died from drug overdoses in SLO County, and likely more. The coroner is currently investigating an additional 19 deaths as possible overdoses, which could raise the total number of deaths from overdoses to 76.

For the past several years, SLO County has noted an increase in drug overdoses with 41 in 2017, 44 in 2018 and 53 in 2019.

Locally and throughout the nation, opiates such as heroin and fentanyl have led to the majority of fatal overdoses.


In response to the surge in drug overdoses, the CDC provided the following strategies for medical personnel and others to reduce deaths.

  • Increase access to care, including to mental health and substance use disorder treatment and support services.
  • Increase access to programs that target overdose prevention.
  • Increase distribution of and access to naloxone, especially for bystanders who may be able to reverse an opioid overdose.
  • Reduce high-risk drug use by improving prescribing practices, preventing initiation of drug use, and addressing use of multiple drugs.