County Coroner reports 94 fentanyl-related deaths so far this year

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The toll from fentanyl, the illicit synthetic opioid that’s sweeping the country, continues to rise.

The Kern County Coroner’s Division reports that local fentanyl deaths are now at 94 this calendar year, putting the county on track for 155 overdose deaths attributed, in whole or in part, to fentanyl. That would be a 24 percent increase from last year’s death total of 125.

Law enforcement and health officials report that fentanyl — manufactured primarily by Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel — is turning up not only as an unadvertised substitute for heroin, its chemical cousin, but in virtually every street drug. And in many cases, users don’t realize that’s what they’re taking.

Fentanyl deaths are up across the country, resulting in a shortage of the injectable version of Narcan, the opioid overdose antidote drug. That’s according to Pfizer, which manufactures Narcan.

For more information about the fentanyl epidemic, check out 17 News’ podcast “Fentanyl: The Counterfeit Killer,” available on multiple platforms.

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