LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Fentanyl-related deaths increased by 200% in 2020, Las Vegas police say.
Clark County had 74 fentanyl-related deaths in 2019 compared to 219 deaths in 2020.
In 2019, Clark County had a total of 591 overdose deaths, which increased to 768 in 2020. Furthermore, Clark County medical services have responded to over 3,249 incidents where naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, was administered to a patient due to narcotic misuse, police said.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid anesthetic which is like morphine and heroin, but it is 50 to 100 times more potent. It has been known to cause respiratory distress and death when consumption was not under the care of a medical health professional.
In many cases, fentanyl is disguised as a prescription pill. However, these disguised pills are illicit “street” variants, police say.
Most people who overdose from fentanyl believed they were taking prescription grade pill, underestimated the power of the drug they thought they were consuming, or failed to realize “street” pills never contain an exact amount of narcotic, police said.
During a Thursday press conference, LVMPD Capt. John Pelletier introduced the Overdose Response Team which includes LVMPD narcotics, Henderson Police Department narcotics, Homeland Security, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Clark County Coroner and other authorities.
“The mission of the Overdose Response Team is to reduce fatal and non-fatal overdose incidents by developing investigative leads,” Pelletier said. “The team will also identify the drug sellers and traffickers responsible for creating these deadly situations.”
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