New data released by the DEA illustrates fentanyl’s growing role in fueling the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania.
The state saw more than 5,000 drug overdose deaths last year. The statewide number represents a rate of 42 overdose deaths per 100,000 and a 64 percent increase in overdose deaths from 2015 to 2017.
The presence of fentanyl was noted in more than 67 percent of drug-related overdose deaths in Pennsylvania in 2017, with the presence of fentanyl-related substances in overdose deaths rising almost 400 percent from 2015 to 2017.
In Philadelphia, there were more than 1,000 drug overdose deaths last year. According to the data, Philadelphia has the worst opioid death rate of any major city in the country.
Philadelphia health officials say the new data shows Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis is expanding outside urban areas.
The DEA plans to issue more detailed report on the state's overdose death rate later this month.