- Associated Press - Thursday, October 6, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - State authorities say they’re investigating 20 drug overdose deaths in New Mexico this year that were likely caused by illicitly manufactured fentanyl.

The New Mexico Department of Health and the state Office of the Medical Investigator say that of the 20 deaths, 11 also had methamphetamine present in toxicology results.

The overdose victims ranged in age from 17 to 63 and 85 percent were male.

Authorities say illicitly manufactured fentanyl has been increasingly seen alone or in combination with other drugs as a cause of drug overdose death nationally.

They say it is among a group of synthetic opioids sometimes substituted for and sold on the street as heroin, oxycodone or other drugs.

Authorities say illicitly manufactured fentanyl also has a potency many times higher than that of morphine.

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