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The study identified fentanyl and fentanyl analogs and other drugs in 281 unintentional overdose fatalities, with Boonshoft researchers working with the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office and Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab on the work funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health and National Institute on Drug Abuse.
In the study:
- Males accounted for 181 of the unintentional overdose deaths.
- More than half of the deaths occurred in people ages 25 through 44.
- Only 6 percent tested positive for heroin. The percentage of heroin positive cases was greater in Appalachian counties.
- Among the 16 heroin-positive cases, 12 also tested positive for illicitly manufactured fentanyl.
- Twenty-one people who died, including 11 in Montgomery County, tested positive for carfentanil, a highly toxic IMF compound, which is about 10,000 times more potent than morphine and used in veterinary medicine for large animals.
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Pharmaceutical fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid pain reliever that’s similar to morphine, but it is 50 to 100 times more powerful and is used to treat patients with severe pain. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl may have a greater potency than fentanyl and often requires multiple naloxone doses to reverse overdoses.
The report stated that illicitly manufactured fentanyl and its analogs have not been part of routine toxicology testing so toxicological data on the current outbreak of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs has been limited.
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