Fentanyl Not As Prevalent In Opioid Epidemic As Recent Headlines Suggest
A high-profile outbreak of fatal overdoses in Sacramento and Prince's death have shined a spotlight on the powerful synthetic drug, but it only accounts for a small part of the opioid crisis gripping the country.
Despite Prince's Death, Fentanyl Still A Rarity Among Opioids
The high-profile overdose death of Prince has put the opioid fentanyl in the spotlight, but while it accounts for a number of deaths in Southern California it makes up a very small portion of the overall opioid market. Nationally, doctors wrote 6.5 million Fentanyl prescriptions last year, compared with nearly 100 million prescriptions for the more common opioids Vicodin and Norco, according to IMS Health, which tracks drug sales. Fentanyl is typically used to treat pain during late-stage cancer and other end-of-life situations. It is extremely potent, up to 100 times stronger than morphine. IMS Health does not have a breakdown of prescription sales by state. In California, the number of overdose deaths from fentanyl track about the same as the drug's share of sales. (Aguilera, 6/6)