27K deaths attributed to fentanyl and new synthetic opioids in 2017

Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl contribute to half of all opioid overdoses in the U.S., according to a July 11 Health Alert Network warning from the CDC.

Opioid overdose deaths doubled from 2015 to 2016, according to the CDC. During the 12 months ending November 2017, more than 55 percent of opioid overdose deaths in the U.S. involved synthetic opioids. Synthetic opioids were responsible for more than 27,000 deaths in 2017, up 20,000 deaths from 2016. 

"The dramatic rise in the supply of illicitly manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl analogs has been mirrored by an equally dramatic rise in deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone, a category which includes fentanyl and fentanyl analogs," the CDC said in the warning.

People who overdose on the synthetic opioids may need multiple doses of opioid overdose antidote naloxone.

"Orally ingested counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl or fentanyl analogs may require prolonged dosing of naloxone in the [emergency department] hospital setting due to a delayed toxicity that has been reported in some cases," the CDC said.

More articles on opioids: 

BCBS report: Opioid prescriptions, diagnoses on the decline
3 drug distributors shipped 1.6B doses of opioids to Missouri in 5 years
CVS adds opioid disposal containers to 750 store fronts: 3 things to know

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