Report of Increasing Overdose Deaths that include Acetyl Fentanyl in Multiple Counties of the Southwestern Region of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2015-2016.J Forensic Sci 2018; 63(1):195-200JF
Acetyl fentanyl is a Schedule I controlled synthetic opioid that is becoming an increasingly detected "designer drug." Routine drug screening procedures in local forensic toxicology laboratories identified a total of 41 overdose deaths associated with acetyl fentanyl within multiple counties of the southwestern region of the state of Pennsylvania. The range, median, mean, and standard deviation of blood acetyl fentanyl concentrations for these 41 cases were 0.13-2100 ng/mL, 11 ng/mL, 169.3 ng/mL, and 405.3 ng/mL, respectively. Thirty-six individuals (88%) had a confirmed history of substance abuse, and all but one case (96%) were ruled multiple drug toxicities. This report characterizes this localized trend of overdose deaths associated with acetyl fentanyl and provides further evidence supporting an alarmingly concentrated opiate and opioid epidemic of both traditional and novel drugs within this region of the United States.