More than 60,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year, and synthetic opioids played a larger role than ever, CNBC reported.
Deaths from those extremely strong drugs, like fentanyl, increased fivefold, and some analogs of fentanyl, like the large animal tranquilizer carfentanil, are increasinly being implicated in opioid deaths, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"The increased mixing or co-use of fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, and varying fentanyl analogs might contribute to increased risk for overdose because persons misusing opioids and other drugs are exposed to drug products with substantially varied potency," the report's authors wrote.
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Fifty to 100 times more powerful than morphine, fentanyl was introduced into the market in 2013. That year it was implicated in just over 3,000 overdose deaths; in 2016, it was involved in 20,000, according to the report, which the CDC said was the first to use "toxicologic and scene evidence from multiple states to characterize opioid overdose deaths."