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DHHS Issues Health Advisory for Deadly New Synthetic Drug

Acetyl Fentanyl Detected in Specimens Associated With Three N.C. Deaths This Year

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Contact: news@dhhs.nc.gov
              919-855-4840

Raleigh, N.C. - The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services today issued a health advisory related to acetyl fentanyl, following at least three deaths related to the synthetic drug. Toxicologists at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner detected acetyl fentanyl in specimens associated with deaths that occurred in January in Sampson, Person and Transylvania counties. The final death certifications in these cases are still pending.

"It is important for law enforcement, medical professionals and our citizens to be aware that this dangerous drug is in North Carolina," said Acting State Health Director Robin Gary Cummings. "Acetyl fentanyl is another addition to a growing list of synthetic drugs and represents a serious threat to public health."

Acetyl fentanyl is an opioid analgesic drug that is up to five times more potent than heroin. It is an analog of fentanyl - a powerful narcotic analgesic - and is not available as a prescription drug in the United States.

The alert came after Rhode Island officials reported that 14 overdose deaths from acetyl fentanyl between March and June 2013. Since then, the drug has been linked to additional deaths in Pennsylvania, Louisiana and now North Carolina.

For additional information about acetyl fentanyl or controlled substances:

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