'Nontraditional strategies' needed to address fentanyl overdoses, researchers say

Fatal overdoses involving synthetic opioids have increased sharply since 2013, according to a report from Rand Corp.

To compile the report, Rand researchers analyzed data on drug seizures and fatal overdose rates, conducted expert interviews and reviewed existing literature on synthetic opioids in the U.S. and abroad.

Overall, overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids jumped from about 3,000 in 2013 to more than 30,000 in 2018. Over that five-year period, the rate of fentanyl overdoses increased from 1 per 100,000 people to 9 per 100,000 people.

Most deaths from synthetic opioids occurred in Appalachia, New England and the mid-Atlantic region.

The researchers said "nontraditional strategies" may be required to address the rising synthetic opioid overdose rate. Recommendations include the use of supervised injection sites and disruption of illicit opioid supplies.

To view the full report, click here.

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