Opioid Deaths Involving Fentanyl Skyrocket


President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency last month, and this week the commission on combating drug addiction and the opioid crisis released its final report. It calls for the Department of Justice to set up nationwide drug courts, a national media campaign, expanded educational programs, and reimbursement for additional non-opioid pain medications and treatment services.

According to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Early Release published on October 27, more than half of the population in 10 states – Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and Wisconsin – who died of opioid overdoses from July 1 to December 31, 2016, tested positive for fentanyl. Fentanyl is a powerful opioid that can be 50 times stronger than heroin and cause death in very small doses.

Nearly 3,000 out of the 5,152 people who died from opioid overdoses reportedly tested positive for fentanyl, and more than 700 tested positive for drugs with a similar chemical structure to fentanyl – including carfentanil, which is extremely potent and used to sedate large animals. According to the CDC, opioid overdose surveillance must expand to track the rapidly changing illicit opioid market.

Sourced from: CDC and CBS News