RI Health Dept. Identifies Killer Synthetic Drug

May 30, 2013

State health officials say they have solved the mystery of a synthetic drug that’s now killed 12 people.

Department of Health officials say those who died appear to have been intravenous drug users. Most came from northern Rhode Island. It took the department’s own scientists, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and an independent testing lab to identify the drug the deceased were injecting. It’s a synthetic opioid called acetyl fentanyl, similar to morphine. It’s man-made, illegal, and doctors don’t prescribe it.

No word yet on whether a criminal investigation comes next or if the drug’s maker has been identified.

Rhode Island has one of the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in the nation. Nationwide, overdoses now kill more people than car wrecks.