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Report: Fentanyl deaths in Alaska quadrupled in 2017

Syringes of the opioid painkiller fentanyl lay on a counter Friday, June 1, 2018, in an inpatient pharmacy. (Rick Bowmer / AP)
Syringes of the opioid painkiller fentanyl lay on a counter Friday, June 1, 2018, in an inpatient pharmacy. (Rick Bowmer / AP)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A new report says overdose deaths in Alaska involving the synthetic opioid fentanyl more than quadrupled last year.

Alaska State Troopers released its latest annual drug report Wednesday, saying the state’s illegal drug problem continues to worsen.

According to the report, 37 people died of overdoses involving fentanyl and related synthetic opioids. In 2016, there were eight fentanyl-related deaths.

The report says the amount of fentanyl seized last year equals more than 24,000 lethal doses.

Heroin is frequently cut with fentanyl. Alaska State Trooper Capt. Michael Duxbury said at a news briefing Wednesday that fentanyl also has been added to methamphetamine and cocaine as well.

Authorities say Alaska is a destination state, with opioids and other illegal drugs manufactured elsewhere and brought north by gangs and Mexican drug cartels.


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