Fentanyl deaths increasing in Clark County, surpass prescription opioid deaths for first time

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Deaths involving the opioid fentanyl or a synthetic version are increasing. The Southern Nevada Health District reports that 63 people have died since the beginning of the year while at the same time last year there were 28 deaths.

In fact, for the first time the fentanyl deaths in Clark County have exceeded deaths from prescription opioids and it appears to be a national trend.

“Nationally, deaths involving prescription opioids, like oxycodone and hydrocodone, have been declining. Deaths involving synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, have been increasing,” the health district said in a news release Monday.

There have been 53 deaths since the beginning of the year involving prescription opioids which is 10 less than the fentanyl related deaths.

In 2019, there were 64 fentanyl deaths and 2018 there were 46.

LAS VEGAS – According to data released by the Southern Nevada Health District, deaths involving fentanyl or fentanyl analogs (drugs designed to mimic the pharmacological effects of fentanyl) are increasing in Clark County. To date, there have been 63 deaths involving fentanyl among Clark County residents this year. In 2019, there were 28 deaths during the same time, an increase of 125%. There were 64 fentanyl deaths in 2019 and 46 deaths in 2018.

The health district released the following information on those who have died of fentanyl overdose:

  • 68% were male
  • 76% White
  • 16% Black
  • 3% Asian
  • 2% Native American.
  • 86% or deaths primarily occurred among individuals aged 15-54 years old
  • 25% among those aged 25-34
  • 29% of the deaths involved also involved prescription opioids*
  • 27% involved benzodiazepines*
  • 23% involved psychostimulants such as methamphetamine*
  • 20% involved cocaine*
  • 9% involved heroin*

* These proportions are not mutually exclusive as more than one drug can contribute to a death.

“It is important for people to be aware of the growing public health risk fentanyl poses to our community. It can be fatal, and it can be found in other drugs,” said Dr. Fermin Leguen, Acting Chief Health Officer for the Southern Nevada Health District.

The Health District offers free naloxone at its pharmacy located at 280 S. Decatur Blvd. The drug, also known as Narcan can reverse the effects of opioid overdoses.

“With naloxone, family members, friends, and others who are close to people who may use opioids can help save a life,” said Dr. Leguen.

Additional overdose prevention measures and training are available to the community through local harm reduction organizations, including Health District partner organization Trac-B Exchange.

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