UCSF Study: Fentanyl Suppliers Behind Spike in Opioid Deaths

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Drugs are prepared to shoot intravenously by a user addicted to heroin on February 6, 2014 in St. Johnsbury Vermont.  (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 30 to 40 times more potent than heroin, caused more than 29,000 overdose deaths in the United States last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A UCSF study released Tuesday concludes that the prevalence of fentanyl in street opioids is not "demand-led" because users often do not know that they are taking drugs containing fentanyl. Instead, the authors posit that illicit manufacturers are adding fentanyl to heroin and other drugs because it is far cheaper to produce. We'll discuss the study and what policy makers can do to keep fentanyl off the streets.


Daniel Ciccarone, professor, Family and Community Medicine at UCSF

Sarah Mars, qualitative project director, Heroin in Transition study at UCSF