Between September 2013 and January 2014, public health programs in Maryland have reported that 37 people have died from heroin laced with fentanyl. During that time period, over 300 people died from heroin overdoses in the state. Thus, fentanyl accounted for over 10 percent of all heroin deaths in the five month period.
Fentanyl is a power opiate that is used in pain killer medicines. When laced with heroin, it creates a powerful drug combination. At the end of 2013 and the start of 2014, a strong batch of heroin laced with fentanyl was being sold to heroin users across the Northeast. Those that have used the fentanyl laced heroin reported that the heroin looks whiter than regular heroin.
Due to its strong effects, officials are concerned that more users will gravitate towards it. This also leads officials to decline to release the name of the brand of heroin that may be laced with fentanyl.
Aside for fentanyl, heroin is getting stronger and more potent in the United States. Most of the heroin seized on the streets are found to be 60 to 70 percent pure, compared to a 5 percent purity level in the 1970s.
Source: Justin Fenton, “Fentanyl-linked heroin deaths part of larger drug overdose trend,” Baltimore Sun, February 8, 2014.
Source: Ian Duncan and Justin Fenton, “Police and feds launch deadly heroin cocktail investigation,” Baltimore Sun, February 4, 2014.