DEA Warns of Mass-Overdose Events Involving Fentanyl

This week, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a warning to federal, state, and local law enforcement entities about a nationwide spike in fentanyl-related mass-overdose events. Fentanyl-related mass-overdose events, defined as involving three or more overdoses occurring close in time and location, have happened in at least seven American cities in recent months, resulting in 58 overdoses and 29 deaths.

According to the DEA, these events are being driven by the presence of fentanyl that is increasingly being mixed with other illicit drugs. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that in the 12-month period ending in October 2021, more than 105,000 Americans died of drug overdoses with 66 percent of those deaths related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Last year, the U.S. experienced more fentanyl-related deaths than gun- and automobile-related deaths combined.

The DEA notes its availability to assist state and local partners during mass-overdose events, including through investigating and identifying responsible parties, providing priority access to drug laboratories and subject matter experts, and warning the public about fentanyl, among other activities.

Additional information is available here.