Note: This is the summary of the report. To access the entire report from the CDC, click here
What is already known about this topic?
Illicitly manufactured fentanyl has become a significant contributor to unintentional overdose deaths in the United States.
What is added by this report?
Approximately 90% of unintentional overdose deaths examined in 24 Ohio counties that occurred during January–February 2017 involved fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, or both, whereas heroin was identified in the minority (6%) of cases, with somewhat higher prevalence in Appalachian counties. Fentanyl is commonly appearing in combination with other analogs.
What are the implications for public health practice?
These findings highlight the urgent need to make illicitly manufactured fentanyl testing a part of standard toxicology panels for biological specimens. Because multiple naloxone doses are often required to reverse overdoses from illicitly manufactured fentanyl, assuring that sufficient supplies are provided to first responders and distributed through community overdose prevention programs can mitigate the effects of opioid overdoses.