Number of Fentanyl Deaths in Minnesota Surged in 2017

Number of Fentanyl Deaths in Minnesota Surged in 2017 Photo: AP file photo

May 14, 2018 01:45 PM

The number of people who died from the synthetic opioid fentanyl surged in 2017.

A preliminary report released Monday by the Minnesota Health Department says there were 172 deaths involving synthetic opioids in 2017. A total of 156, or 91 percent, of those deaths listed fentanyl as a contributing factor.

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RELATED: No Criminal Charges in Superstar Prince's Fentanyl Overdose Death

The number of overall synthetic opioid deaths increased 74 percent from 2016.

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says the dramatic increase shows there is a fentanyl public health crisis. She says those addicted to opioids may be unknowingly exposing themselves to deadly risks.

"These data confirm that Minnesotans addicted to opioids may unknowingly be exposing themselves to far greater and more deadly risks than they know," she said in a statement. "It is more important than ever for us to support Minnesotans in their efforts to seek help and treatment."

RELATED: BCA: Fentanyl Laced Heroin Most Dangerous Drug Epidemic in Minnesota

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin. The dangers of the drug grabbed headlines in 2016 when Prince died after taking a counterfeit pill that was laced with it.


 

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Associated Press

(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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