Fentanyl-related deaths spike in Alaska: 3 things to know

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Twenty Alaskans have died of fentanyl-related drug overdoses so far in 2017, compared to just eight such deaths for all of 2016, according to KTVF.

Other states are also seeing an increase in these types of overdoses, as drug dealers are increasingly cutting heroin with fentanyl., Fentanyl, or one of its analogues, was involved in 58.2 percent of all overdose deaths in Ohio for 2016, compared to 19.8 percent in 2015. In 2012, the percentage was just 3.9 percent.

Michael Short, special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, discussed the rise in fentanyl-related deaths during an Aug. 31 panel hosted in observance of International Overdose Awareness Day in Fairbanks, Ala.

"These drug traffickers are realizing they can increase their profits sometimes 10-fold, even more by putting fentanyl into their product," Mr. Short said. "Fentanyl is a lot cheaper. [Y]ou have to use very little amounts to get the same results and so they can put a little bit into heroin, mix it up and they aren't actually even selling you heroin, they are selling you fentanyl."

To see the full KTVF report, click here.

More articles on opioids: 
5 healthcare organizations petition FDA to remove high-dose opioids from market 
Addressing opioid abuse? Payer-provider collaboration is key, says this Cigna CMO 
'Out in front' — how healthcare leaders can help solve the opioid crisis

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