Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Fentanyl: Around the State and the County

by Jacqueline Longo, June 7, 2016

Program Coordinator, Youth Leadership
The Governor's Prevention Partnership

Fentanyl made headlines once again last week when it was announced that it was an unintentional overdose of the power painkiller that killed Prince.  This story was a little different in that in Prince’s case, it was fentanyl alone that caused his death, rather than the more common situation of heroin laced with fentanyl. 

Fentanyl is an extremely strong synthetic opioid that is used to treat high levels of pain, effecting the brain and body like other prescription painkillers.  It is stronger than morphine and heroin and can cause dangerous side effects if taken without instruction or if mixed with other substances.  In Connecticut, fentanyl has made an appearance in an increasing number of drug overdoses in the last 3 years.  As in Prince’s case, it has caused overdoses all on its own in our state. In 2015, there were 31 accidental drug intoxication deaths from fentanyl as a standalone drug. This number has almost tripled since 2014 with 12 fentanyl overdoses that year and has increased 5 fold with 6 overdoses in 2013. 

The use of fentanyl and other opioids, continue to rise in Connecticut. When opioids are misused, these medications can be harmful and can possibility lead to addiction and other illegal drug use. Using prescription medications when they are not prescribed to you is just as dangerous as using an illegal drug.

View our Opioid Fact Sheet and continue to communicate with the youth in your life. Kids who learn a lot about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50% less likely to use drugs.

View additional resources to speak with youth about the dangers of substance abuse.

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