Report of Increasing Overdose Deaths that include Acetyl Fentanyl in Multiple Counties of the Southwestern Region of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2015–2016

Jessica B. Dwyer, Jennifer Janssen, Todd M. Luckasevic, Karl E. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Acetyl fentanyl is a Schedule I controlled synthetic opioid that is becoming an increasingly detected “designer drug.” Routine drug screening procedures in local forensic toxicology laboratories identified a total of 41 overdose deaths associated with acetyl fentanyl within multiple counties of the southwestern region of the state of Pennsylvania. The range, median, mean, and standard deviation of blood acetyl fentanyl concentrations for these 41 cases were 0.13–2100 ng/mL, 11 ng/mL, 169.3 ng/mL, and 405.3 ng/mL, respectively. Thirty-six individuals (88%) had a confirmed history of substance abuse, and all but one case (96%) were ruled multiple drug toxicities. This report characterizes this localized trend of overdose deaths associated with acetyl fentanyl and provides further evidence supporting an alarmingly concentrated opiate and opioid epidemic of both traditional and novel drugs within this region of the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-200
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Volume63
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • acetyl fentanyl
  • fentanyl
  • forensic science
  • forensic toxicology
  • overdose
  • postmortem
  • synthetic opioids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics

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