United States – July 2018: According to a Health Alert Network Health Update from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug submissions to the United States National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) testing positive for fentanyl and fentanyl analogues have doubled from 14,440 in 2015 to 34,119 in 2016. The trend seems to continue with 25,460 reports for fentanyl and fentanyl analogues being recorded in the database in the first six months of 2017 alone. Among the fentanyl analogues, the number of reports for the highly toxic Carfentanil increased from 1,251 in 2016 to 2,268 in 2017 while methylfentanyl, furanylfentanyl, and acrylfentanyl have also been rising in prominence. Furthermore, the United States National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) indicated that more than 55% of the opioid overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids in the 12-month period ending November 2017, accounting for more than 27,000 deaths.
An increasing number of synthetic opioids on the drug market, particularly fentanyl analogues, has also been reflected in reports of Member States to the UNODC Early Warning Advisory (EWA). By the end of 2017, 34 synthetic opioids were registered in the EWA. In June 2018, UNODC launched an integrated strategy responding to the global opioid crisis.
For more information, please see:
Global SMART Update Volume 17 “Fentanyl and its analogues- 50 years on”
Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Update on “Rising Numbers of Deaths Involving Fentanyl and Fentanyl Analogues, Including Carfentanil, and Increased Usage and Mixing with Non-opioids” https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USCDC/bulletins/1fdd9bf