Researchers: Fentanyl deaths up 122% in W.Va.

April 18, 2019

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia University researchers say fentanyl deaths are up 122% in the state.

The college released the results of a study into the powerful synthetic opioid Tuesday.

Analysts looked at all drug-related deaths in West Virginia between 2005 to 2017. They found that between 2015 and 2017 deaths from fentanyl were 122% higher than from 2005 to 2014.

The study cites federal Centers For Disease Control and Prevention statistics that say West Virginia leads the nation in deaths from fentanyl and has the highest per capita rate of overdose deaths in the country.

Fentanyl is sometimes blended into heroin or sold as a counterfeit prescription pill, leading drug users to unknowingly take the substance.

The study recommends widespread distribution of naloxone, an overdose reversing medication.