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Fentanyl's Role in Opioid Overdose Deaths

Aschenbrenner, Diane S. MS, RN

AJN, American Journal of Nursing: October 2017 - Volume 117 - Issue 10 - p 21–23
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000525869.21182.72
Drug Watch
  • U.S. deaths from opioid overdose are on the rise. Heroin and other illegal opioids are being adulterated with the potent opioid fentanyl, significantly increasing the risk of sudden, lethal overdose. Highly potent fentanyl analogs, such as the large-animal sedative carfentanil, are also being mixed with heroin.
  • Naloxone is an antidote to opioid overdose. Despite new preparations of naloxone designed for use by nonmedical bystanders, the drug is not being sufficiently prescribed or used. The increasing cost of naloxone products may be contributing to poor usage.

Diane S. Aschenbrenner is an assistant professor at Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore. She also coordinates Drug Watch: daschenbrenner@ndm.edu.

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