The resulting wave of human misery has been overwhelming. In just 21 days in July, paramedics in Akron, Ohio, logged 236 overdoses, including 14 fatalities, with suspected links to carfentanil, according to the DEA. In the first six months of this year, in contrast, they dealt with a total of 320 overdoses of all kinds. In September, the Ohio coroner’s office confirmed eight carfentanil overdose deaths in Cincinnati, the DEA said.
The true scope of the problem is likely bigger. The seizure data from the DEA only reflects samples confirmed as carfentanil by federal, state and local forensic laboratories. Some local authorities may not have tested specifically for the drug — not all labs even have the capacity to do so — and toxicology tests can lag for months as coroners struggle with a backlog of autopsies, according to the DEA.
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