- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - Health officials in Delaware say a surge in fentanyl-related overdose deaths drove the state’s overall overdose deaths past 300 last year.

In a statement released Tuesday, the Division of Forensic Science said it confirmed the presence of fentanyl, a synthetic painkiller up to 50 times more potent than heroin, in more than a third of the 308 overdoses in Delaware in 2016. Officials say 228 people died from overdoses in Delaware in 2015.

Officials say the number of fentanyl-related deaths jumped 186 percent from 42 in 2015 to 120 last year. Fentanyl alone was confirmed in 51 of those cases. Officials say cocaine also was present in 48 cases and heroin was confirmed in 37. In 16 cases, heroin and cocaine were both confirmed, in addition to fentanyl.

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