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Pharmacy News

Dr Marie Sartain
/ Categories: APhA News

Two powerful drugs now adding to overdoses in U.S.

A new report published by CDC reveals that medical examiners are seeing a growing number of overdose deaths linked to two opioids: parafluorofentanyl and metonitazene. These drugs are frequently taken or blended with fentanyl and are said to be more powerful than fentanyl.

The report was written by officials from the DEA; a toxicology lab at the University of California, San Francisco; and the Knox County Regional Forensic Center in Knoxville, TN.

The authors noted that the Knoxville, area recorded 770 unintentional drug overdose deaths from November 2020 through August 2021. Test results for 562 of them identified fentanyl only, 188 tested positive for fentanyl and methamphetamine, 48 involved parafluorofentanyl, and 26 involved metonitazene, according to the report.

Parafluorofentanyl is a synthetic opioid similar to fentanyl that has increasingly been found in heroin packets and as counterfeit tablets. Metonitazene is an opioid developed in the 1950s that was never authorized for medical treatment.

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