Fenatyl deaths increasing; tests find it in more substances | Department of Health

The state Department of Health is expecting a 70 percent increase in Fenatyl deaths from last year.

  • Wednesday, December 5, 2018 11:04am
  • News

The following is a press release from the Washington state Department of Health:

Washington State Department of Health reports that illicit fentanyl is being detected in new forms and is causing an increasing number of overdose deaths in the state.

In the first half of 2018, there were 81 deaths linked to fentanyl, versus 48 deaths recorded during the same time period last year. This represents an almost 70 percent increase in deaths.*

Illicit fentanyl has been found in a variety of counterfeit pills made to look like prescription opioids. It has also been found in white and colored powders, and could potentially be present in any illicit drug. This is a dangerous development for heroin and other opioid users who may be unaware when drugs contain illicit fentanyl. Fentanyl is 30-50 times as strong as pure heroin, and a dose the size of a few grains of salt can be fatal to an average-size person.

“While fentanyl has been a significant cause of overdose death elsewhere in the United States, our state is now seeing the rise of its deadly impact,” said Dr. Kathy Lofy, state health officer and co-chair of the state’s Opioid Response Work Group. “We need people who take illicit drugs to seek treatment and take other actions to reduce their risk of an overdose.”

Public health officials urge people who use opioids to take these actions to help protect themselves from an overdose:

  • Seek treatment from the Recovery Helpline (see map of providers). Information is a confidential phone call away at 1-866-789-1511.
  • Carry naloxone. Visit Stopoverdose.org to see locations that provide naloxone in Washington.
  • If you witness an overdose, call 911, give naloxone and do rescue breathing. Fentanyl may require multiple doses of naloxone to restore breathing. The law (RCW 69.50.315) says neither the victim nor persons assisting with an overdose will be prosecuted for drug possession.
  • Never use drugs alone.
  • Be careful about using too fast. Fentanyl is fast-acting and deadly. Many experienced opioid users have overdosed or died by using too much, too quickly.

The state Opioid Response Plan details other actions underway to reduce opioid overdoses.

* Data for 2018 are preliminary and will change as toxicology results are finalized and the year ends. With a total of 121 confirmed deaths to-date, there are already more fentanyl deaths in 2018 compared to 120 deaths in all of 2017.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in News

King County releases annual count of people experiencing homelessness

About 5 percent more people were experiencing homelessness over last year, but the increase doesn’t appear to indicate an overall growing trend.

Man drowns during fishing trip to Deep Lake

Both the father and son were thrown from their boat, but the child made it to shore.

The Red Lion Inn at 1 South Grady Way in Renton is being used as temporary site to relocate individuals experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo.
Renton battles King County over temporary shelter at Red Lion Hotel

County officials believe emergency health order will supersede city’s move.

A train route that would shuttle people between Eastern and Western Washington could tie in with the proposed ultra-high-speed rail between B.C. and Portland. Photo courtesy RobertStafford/Pixabay.com
State receives King County to Spokane rail study

It would take about eight and a half hours to reach the Inland Empire from Puget Sound.

Assessments are in, Pierce County property values continue to climb

Properties in Orting saw the greatest percentage increase over last year

Courtesy of Mountain View Fire and Rescue
Mountain View Fire and Rescue seeks levy on Aug. 4 primary ballot

Service area includes unincorporated King County near the cities of Auburn, Enumclaw and Kent.

Bret Chiafalo. File photo
Supreme Court says state can punish WA faithless electors

Justices: Presidential electors, including Everett man, must keep pledge to back popular vote winner

Enumclaw, Black Diamond police blotter | June 24 – July 6

Garbage bears, racing jet skis, and illegal fireworks.

Owner of proposed Enumclaw Recycling Center ordered to close Auburn location

King County has been trying to shutter the Buckley Recycle Center for nearly 15 years, and claims the lack of progress at the Enumclaw site shows the owner has little interest in complying with county regulations.

Most Read