- Associated Press - Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Department of Health reported a record number of accidental drug overdoses last year, in part because of an increase in fentanyl, a potent painkiller mixed with heroin. Some details about the drug:

-Most often used to treat patients with severe pain, fentanyl is a Schedule II synthetic narcotic that as a prescription is 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin and 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

-Reports of fentanyl increased by 300 percent in the U.S. from the second half of 2013 to the first half of 2014, based on seizures by law enforcement. The South, Northeast and Midwest saw particularly high numbers.

-Fentanyl mixed with other commonly abused drugs such as heroin resulted in increased deaths between 2005 and 2007, and seems to be re-emerging in the U.S.

-While some fentanyl comes from supplies that were legally prescribed and then diverted for abuse, most is produced and trafficked specifically for the illegal drug trade.

-Addicts may not know when fentanyl has been combined with other commonly abused drugs such as heroin, which may contribute to overdose deaths.

-Fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Ohio increased from 84 in 2013, involving fewer than 4 percent of such deaths, to 502 in 2014, involving 20 percent.

- Ohio counties with the most fentanyl-related overdose deaths: Hamilton (80), Montgomery (70), Summit (53), Butler (49), Cuyahoga (32), Stark (21), Clermont (22), and Lucas (20).

Source: Ohio Department of Health

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