Feb. 9, 2024 – California officials are investigating the recent deaths of two men who fatally overdosed while seeking drug treatment at Walden House, a longtime San Francisco facility for those struggling with addiction. “We’ve had two unfortunate overdose deaths in the program, which as you can probably understand has been pretty traumatic for both the clients and the staff,” said Gary McCoy, a spokesperson for HealthRight 360.

“Treatment programs are not immune to the outside world.” 

The deaths come as San Francisco struggles to get a handle on its worsening opioid epidemic. The city reported 806 overdose fatalities last year, its deadliest on record. The deaths at Walden House point to the difficulty of treating drug addiction even among those who might seek sobriety, with relapse an ever-present possibility. Fatal overdoses have spiked amid the rise of fentanyl, the super powerful and addictive opioid that drives many fatalities.

Due to fentanyl’s powerful potency, recovering drug users can overdose more easily if they relapse and use the same dosage they did before getting sober.