Sharp Increases in Fentanyl-Involved Overdose Deaths, 2013-2014
From 2013 to 2014, law enforcement encounters (drug submitted for analysis) testing positive for fentanyl quadrupled in the U.S. and has increased in a growing number of states, according to new data published today in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Synthetic opioid-involved overdose deaths, including fentanyl, have also increased in multiple states, and recent investigations in Ohio and Florida provide strong evidence that most fentanyl deaths do not involve prescription fentanyl but are related to illicitly-made fentanyl (IMF). IMF is often mixed with or sold as heroin—with or without the users’ knowledge and increasingly distributed in counterfeit pills. High-burden states show that all demographic groups had substantial increases in synthetic opioid-involved deaths, and the emerging patterns mirror the evolving demographics of those using heroin.