OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Health officials say deaths from the powerful opioid fentanyl and fentanyl -related drugs appear to be on the rise in Washington state.

An investigation by several state agencies released Wednesday found at least 70 people died from the synthetic opioid in 2016.

Fentanyl is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and is often mixed with heroin or made to look like other painkillers that fetch a higher street price.

An analysis found that most of the overdoses involved fentanyl sources that were illicit or unknown.

State officials say that direct comparisons between 2015 and 2016 aren’t possible because the state’s toxicology lab changed its testing protocol last year.

In 2015, using the older method, the lab identified 28 fentanyl-related deaths. That same protocol would have identified 53 fentanyl-related deaths in 2016.

The newer testing protocol found an additional 17 deaths last year.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Listen Live