- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) - Authorities in Chicago are seeing more overdose deaths from the powerful painkiller fentanyl and its derivatives.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office says seven people died after using furanyl fentanyl since mid-December. Six deaths have been linked to acetyl fentanyl since September.

The spike in fentanyl-related deaths began last fall. At least 106 deaths are attributed, at least in part, to fentanyl or fentanyl analogues since then.

Tests show the people who died used fentanyl alone, with heroin and with other drugs, such as cocaine. Heroin users have been supplied with heroin mixed with fentanyl, pure fentanyl and fentanyl derivatives.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says previous fentanyl seizures were tied to Mexican drug trafficking groups.

Prescription fentanyl has legitimate purposes for cancer patients with tolerance to other narcotics.

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