EPIDEMIC

Report: Synthetics Are Killing More People Than Prescription Opioids

Synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, have overtaken prescription pills as the top opioid killer in a new JAMA Network report. Researchers found that as many as “46 [percent] of the 42,249 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2016 involved synthetic opioids,” while 40 percent were the result of prescription overdoses, CNN reported. In 2010, only 14 percent of opioid overdoses were attributed to synthetics. This comes as a BuzzFeed News report claims that fentanyl has been finding its way into cocaine, causing a spike in cocaine-related overdoses. The synthetic is reportedly “tainting cocaine through much of the Eastern Seaboard,” especially the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine—where “majority of cocaine deaths involve fentanyl.” In 2016, fentanyl showed up in 83 percent of cocaine deaths in New Hampshire, 70 percent in Massachusetts, and close to 64 percent in Maine.