The Wyoming Department of Health is sounding the alarm on overdose deaths connected to use of synthetic opioids in the state.
Agency data show annual deaths attributed to overdoses among Wyoming residents have gone up significantly the past 4 years, increasing from 65 in 2018 to 78 in 2019, then jumping to 99 in 2020 and 106 last year.
The rise came after the number of overdose deaths in Wyoming had fallen by over a third from 106 in 2014 to just 62 in 2017.
State Health Officer and Epidemiologist Dr Alexia Harrist says the number of overdoses involving synthetic opioids more than quadrupled the last 4 years while deaths connected with most other opioids stayed relatively stable.
Dr Harrist says fentanyl is the most responsible because it’s up to 50 time stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, but is frequently added to other illegal drugs to make them cheaper, more powerful, and more deadly.