Associated Press Published

Fatal Overdoses Caused by Fentanyl Increase in West Virginia


Fatal overdoses linked to a powerful opioid nearly tripled in West Virginia last year.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that overdoses caused by fentanyl increased from 55 deaths in 2014 to 154 deaths last year.

West Virginia’s Bureau of Public Health commissioner Dr. Rahul Gupta says people can overdose and die more quickly with fentanyl. The drug is an opioid that is sometimes laced with heroin and is stronger than prescription morphine.

Kanawha and Cabell counties had the most fentanyl-related deaths with 33 each.

West Virginia has the highest drug overdose death rate in the nation. According to the state Health Statistics Center, at last count, 643 people died of drug overdoses in West Virginia in 2015. That number could increase as death reports from December continue to come in.