State issues fentanyl warning following 50 fatal overdoses in Pa.

fentanyl
Fentanyl. (Credit: File photo).

The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs on Thursday issued a warning about the powerful narcotic painkiller fentanyl and derivative acetyl fentanyl after receiving reports of 50 fatal overdoses across the state this year.

Authorities said fentanyl, a prescription medication used to relieve severe or chronic pain – often in end-of-life-care, often has the same consistency, color and packaging of heroin.

But fentanyl is much more potent, and drug users who mistake it for heroin are at a high risk of suffering a fatal overdose, according to a release.

“This is an especially important time for those addicted to heroin to seek treatment,” Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Gary Tennis said in a statement.

“Treatment works; these individuals, rather than risk death day after day, can attain recovery and go on to live rich and rewarding lives.”

The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs last week called on coroners and medical examiners in the state to screen for the drug in all apparent heroin deaths after recently confirming five overdoses – one of them fatal – from fentanyl in Lebanon County.

The department as a result found recreational use of fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl has resulted in at least 50 confirmed fatal overdoses this year in Pennsylvania.

Overdoses have been confirmed in 15 Pennsylvania counties – including Philadelphia.

The department is further awaiting toxicology reports from several other counties and is also working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to best address the issue in Pennsylvania.

Fentanyl is available as a skin patch, lozenge, pill, shot or a film that dissolves in the mouth.

During the last major fentanyl overdose outbreak in 2006, there were 269 deaths reported in Philadelphia alone.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Drive charged in fatal hit and run, police…

The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit and run in Manhattan last weekend. Doohee Cho, 33, was hit…

Local

Mayor de Blasio raises minimum wage for some…

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday morning that will raise the minimum wage for workers employed by private companies that receive more…

National

3 myths about the working poor

Linda Tirado works to debunk some common stereotypes about the working poor in her new book, "Hand to Mouth."

Money

Lawsuit funding advances: friend or foe?

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Many plaintiffs awaiting resolution of their lawsuit or legal claim often find themselves in a tricky financial…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

Entertainment

Interview: Metro chats with filmmaker Meir Kalmanson, man…

A New York filmmaker hands out smiles to its residents.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 30: 'Selfie,' 'Utopia'…

'Selfie' This modern day take on the "My Fair Lady" story stars John Cho in the Henry Higgins role. Perhaps instead of "the rain in…

Music

Can't-miss weekend events continue to attract the masses

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Earlier this summer, the Firefly Music Festival drew crowds of tens of thousands of people to Dover, Delaware.…

MLB

Mets 2014 report card

The Mets wrapped up their eight straight season without a playoff appearance last weekend. Needless to say, they fell a bit short of general manager…

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

Style

Products that support breast cancer awareness and research

Asics GT-1000, $100 Asics’ third pink collection in collaboration with Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women includes this pink-accented version of its best-selling GT-1000 3…

Wellbeing

Dr. Marisa Weiss: Where we stand on breast…

As an oncologist and a survivor herself, Dr. Marisa Weiss knows the urgency felt by those diagnosed with breast cancer. Genetic testing has accelerated the…

Wellbeing

Bees' stingers hold new hope for cancer cure

A promising new lead in the search for a cancer cure has turned up in a place that most people naturally avoid. A team from…

Home

Emily Henderson on small space design

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us how to upgrade our cramped quarters.