Fentanyl, the opioid that is up to 50 times as potent as heroin, is presenting law enforcement with complex challenges, according to Richard Baum, Acting Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
A hospital in New Haven, Connecticut treated 12 people who overdosed last June when they used fentanyl that had been sold as cocaine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three of the people died.
The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration is visiting China this week to discuss combating sales of synthetic drugs, including fentanyl, CNN reports. Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg will also discuss new psychoactive substances and money-laundering activities when he meets with Chinese officials.
Overdose deaths associated with prescription and illicit opioids increased to 33,091 last year, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number marks an increase of almost 5,000 deaths from the previous year, The Washington Post reports.