DENVER — Denver is experiencing a surge in overdose deaths related to fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that’s 50 times more potent than heroin.
Between January and May, the city saw a 282 percent increase in fentanyl-related overdose fatalities compared with the same time period last year, the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment reports.
>> Watch the 9NEWS video above on fentanyl-laced tablets linked to eight overdoses in Northern Colorado.
“Overdoses caused by fentanyl can happen faster and are harder to stop than those caused by other opioids,” city officials advised in a press release Wednesday morning. “The drug can come in many forms, including pills, capsules, rock, and pure powders. It cannot be seen, tasted or smelled when mixed with other drugs.”
Denver’s health department in partnership with the Denver Police Department other partners have been monitoring the Denver area for the presence of fentanyl “with the goal of reducing the risk of overdose death in the community.”
Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids have become a major problem nationwide. More than 31,000 deaths involving synthetic opioids occurred in the U.S. in 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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