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Milwaukee County Medical Examiner: 101 fentanyl deaths in 2017 so far, number already exceeds all of 2016

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner says the total number of fentanyl deaths in the City of Milwaukee in 2017 has already exceeded all of last year.

According to a tweet by the Medical Examiner’s Office, the number of deaths to date related to fentanyl is 101, compared to 97 in 2016. 

Fentanyl is a pain medication that when prescribed and used correctly is safe.

The Medical Examiner’s Office says the problem is that dealers are lacing drugs like heroin and cocaine with fentanyl in very high amounts to make the drug more potent and the combination is deadly. They say a lot of times the drug user doesn’t even know fentanyl is in the drug they are taking, or if they do, how much.

“Therapeutic levels of fentanyl are somewhere in the single digits you know 2, or 3, or 4 and we’re finding 20, 50, 80 mega-grams per liter of fentanyl in these patients so there definitely far exceeding anything that may be used therapeutically,” says Sara Schreiber, Toxicology Lab Forensic Technical Director.

By the end of the year, the Medical Examiner says they expect the number of fentanyl deaths to rise to more than 160.

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