Preliminary Report: Fentanyl deaths are rising in Minnesota
14. May 2018
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The number of people in Minnesota who died of the synthetic opioid fentanyl rose in 2017 According to preliminary figures released on Monday, the Health Commissioner has described the problem as a "fentanyl public health crisis".
The preliminary report released by the Minnesota Ministry of Health says there were 1
"This dramatic increase shows that Minnesota's opioid epidemic has also become a public health fentanyl crisis," Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a statement. "These data confirm that Minnesotans who depend on opioids unknowingly expose themselves to greater and more lethal risks than they know."
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin. The dangers of the drug aroused international headlines in 2016 when Prince died after taking a fake pill laced with him. The authorities were unable to identify the source of the drug that killed him.
According to the early figures, overdose deaths of all types of drugs in Minnesota increased 3 percent in 2017 to 694 deaths. That's 675 deaths the year before. The Department of Health said that the growing impact of fentanyl outweighed progress in other areas, such as a 29% decrease in heroin deaths and a relatively unchanged number of presumptive opioid deaths, according to preliminary data.
The report also says methamphetamine-related deaths increased by 9 percent in 2017, while cocaine deaths increased 36 percent – the first time that cocaine deaths have increased in the last decade.
These numbers are likely to change as researchers continue their work. A final report is expected to be published in September.
Follow Amy Forliti on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/amyforliti . More of her work: https://apnews.com/search/amy%20forliti