Fentanyl is now the deadliest drug in America claiming more than 18,000 lives in 2016. The medication was originally designed to treat pain in cancer patients and it’s 80 times stronger than heroin.
The drug has now overtaken heroin as the most deadly in the country. In 2011, fentanyl caused 4 percent of overdose deaths.
By 2016, that number increased by 113 percent. Many of these deaths involve more than one drug but fentanyl was found in 1,800 cases in 2016 alone.
Vanderburgh County Coroner Steve Lockyear says, “We’ve had 42 drug-related deaths. And 13 of those have been fentanyl or fentanyl-heroin containing those compounds within them. And then we’ve seen 11 methamphetamine deaths. So those are running very high this year.”
The CDC study also found illegal drugs such as fentanyl and heroin were the primary causes of unintentional overdoses, while prescription drugs such as oxycodone tended to be used in suicide overdoses.