Record number of fentanyl-related deaths reported in US last year

(FoxNews) Fentanyl and carfentanil, lethal compounds made with cheap ingredients like the painkiller fentanyl, are making drug overdoses in the U.S. a record daily occurrence. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control…

Record number of fentanyl-related deaths reported in US last year

(FoxNews) Fentanyl and carfentanil, lethal compounds made with cheap ingredients like the painkiller fentanyl, are making drug overdoses in the U.S. a record daily occurrence.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23,249 people were treated for drug overdoses in the U.S. in 2016, a 6.7 percent increase from the previous year.

CDC statistics show that deaths from overdoses involving illicit drugs, primarily cocaine, decreased only 1.6 percent in 2016, while deaths involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil increased 58.2 percent. In its report, the CDC noted that the increase in deaths was in some part due to the substitution of drugs by fentanyl.

While the CDC found a significant increase in fentanyl-related deaths in 2016, officials noted that the numbers continued to decline — 2017 reported that fentanyl-related deaths in the U.S. decreased 9.6 percent from the year before.

Experts say that many of the personal lethal quantities of fentanyl are coming in as inexpensive counterfeit pills. Other recent drug seizures in Mexico appear to be made with fentanyl-based compounds in air-tight plastic bags.

While the Central American country fentanyl is coming from looks like less harmful, it is just as deadly, said CNN drug expert Steve Emerson.

Emerson noted that fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are being pushed into the U.S. and are up to 50 times more potent than their natural counterparts, Carfentanil.

The CDC has said that the most lethal drugs come from the Asia-Pacific region. The report showed that fentanyl-related deaths are at a record high in China, Guam, Mexico, and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and American Samoa.

The CDC also reported that 8,194 people died of fentanyl overdoses in 2017, a 12.5 percent increase from the previous year. The number of deaths with fentanyl in them increased 59.2 percent in 2017.

A CDC spokesperson said that preliminary data shows fentanyl deaths being at a record high so far in 2018.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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