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1540 WADK.com Updates

Rise of fentanyl: Seen in half of deadly overdoses in state

A new study finds that drug overdose deaths in Rhode Island due to fentanyl are on the rise.

The Brown University study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy finds that about half of the drug overdose deaths in the state from 2014 to 2016 were attributed to fentanyl.

A handful of other states have reported similar increases in deaths related to fentanyl, the same opioid that killed the musician Prince. It can be 50 to 100 times as potent as morphine.

Researcher Brandon Marshall says health officials would be doing much better in addressing the overdose crisis if it weren't for fentanyl. He says it's alarming to see that the proportion of deaths related to fentanyl rose over 50 percent in 2016.

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