Deaths From Fentanyl, Heroin Up In Florida
Deaths from heroin and fentanyl are up in Florida.
According to data from the Florida Medical Examiners Commission, deaths from heroin are up 74 percent from 2014 to 2015. Deaths from fentanyl are up 69 percent.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate that can be 100 times more potent than morphine, and is increasingly mixed with heroin. Police officials say it’s being cut with heroin, and sometimes being sold as imitation prescription pills, which fetch a high price on the black market since Florida cracked down on pill mills.
In 2005, there were fewer than 200 deaths from fentanyl. In 2015, more than 900 people died, a 78 percent jump from the year before.
And the death toll could be higher. Medical examiners aren’t required to report deaths from fentanyl to the state, but because of the spike, many counties are doing it voluntarily.
Per capita, Orange County has the fifth highest fentanyl death rate in Florida, and the fourth highest heroin rate. Osceola County has the seventh highest heroin death rate in the state.
WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Health reporting on WMFE is supported in part by Florida Hospital.