LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Southern Nevada Health District issued an advisory Tuesday to alert the public about the ongoing risk of fentanyl after the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department reported six suspected drug-related overdoses in Clark County over 36 hours.
Four out of the six drug overdoses that happened between Sept. 25 and 27 have been preliminarily identified as fentanyl overdoses, according to SNHD.
In the first six months of 2022, there were 110 fentanyl overdose deaths among Clark County residents. There were 225 fentanyl deaths in 2021, and 191 deaths reported in 2020.
From January 2018 to July 2022, an estimated 1,412 opioid-related overdose deaths happened in Clark County. Of those deaths, 46% died from fentanyl. Younger adults are at the highest risk of fatal fentanyl overdoses.
Fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic opioid, roughly 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine, and a small amount of it can be deadly. It can be mixed with illicit substances to look like heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine. The drug is more commonly being pressed into counterfeit pills and sold on the street as Percocet, Xanax, or oxycodone.
SNHD and the CDC recommend that people who are at risk of an opioid overdose as well as those who know someone at risk should carry naloxone, or Narcan, which can help reverse opioid overdoses. Fentanyl test strips can also be used to see if fentanyl is present in a pill or powder.
SNHD’s main public health center offers free naloxone and fentanyl test strips at its pharmacy located at 280 S. Decatur Blvd. Other naloxone access points can be found at the Nevada State Overdose Reversal Medication Finder. Fentanyl test strip distribution locations can be found at Nevada State Fentanyl Test Strip Distribution Sites.
“We want everyone to be aware that fentanyl is continuing to take a toll on the community,” said SNHD District Health Officer Dr. Fermin Leguen. “In addition to raising awareness about the risks of synthetic opioids, residents should know that there are resources available to them that can help prevent a fentanyl or opioid overdose.”