Rising numbers of deaths involving fentanyl and fentanyl analogs and increased usage and mixing with non-opioids

CDC issued on Wednesday a Health Alert Network update about the continued increase in the supply of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs detected by law enforcement. The agency also noted the sharp increase in overdose deaths involving the drugs in several states, especially the rising number of deaths involving carfentanil.

CDC issued on Wednesday a Health Alert Network update about the continued increase in the supply of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs detected by law enforcement. The agency also noted the sharp increase in overdose deaths involving the drugs in several states, especially the rising number of deaths involving carfentanil. The alert also discusses the growing number of poly-drug combinations implicated in opioid overdose deaths, including non-opioids such as cocaine; updated comprehensive guidance available to law enforcement and other emergency responders to prevent occupational exposure to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs; and updated recommendations for public health professionals and health care providers for prevention and response efforts. "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," CDC said. Between 2015 and 2016, the rate of synthetic opioid overdose deaths in the United States increased from 3.1 to 6.2 deaths per 100,000, "marking the first year that synthetic opioids became the most common type of opioid involved in all opioid overdose deaths," the agency noted. Preliminary data for 2017 show that more than 55% of opioid overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids, accounting for more than 27,000 overdose deaths. To address the crisis, CDC suggests improving detection of fentanyl outbreaks to facilitate effective response, and expanding use of naloxone and opioid use disorder treatment.