- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - Delaware public health officials are reporting what they call an alarming increase in fatal drug overdoses.

The Department of Health and Social Services said in a news release Tuesday that there were 308 drug overdose deaths in 2016. In 2015, 228 people died from overdoses in Delaware.

The department says fentanyl-related also increased last year, to 120, compared with 42 deaths in 2015.

Officials say fentanyl is a synthetic painkiller that is up to 50 times more potent than heroin. It can be ingested alone, or mixed with cocaine or heroin.

Residents can visit DHSS’ website, www.HelpIsHereDE.com, for addiction treatment and recovery services in Delaware and nearby states.

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