KDHE: Kansas saw 54 percent increase in drug overdoses during 1st half of ’21

Federal officials report seeing an increased presence of potentially deadly fentanyl in fake...
Federal officials report seeing an increased presence of potentially deadly fentanyl in fake prescription pills.(KWCH)
Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 9:32 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Drawing attention to a debilitating problem impacting families and communities across the state, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment on Monday unveiled data that shows a disturbing trend continuing.

The KDHE reported that provisional surveillance results from the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System (SUDORS) shows that at least 338 Kansas residents died of drug overdose between January 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021. That tally represents a 54 percent increase in the same six-month stretch from 2020.

Of the provisional 338 deaths, the KDHE reported that 149 involved fentanyl or fentanyl analogs, 149 involved methamphetamine and 40 involved other drugs, both licit and illicit such as cocaine and prescription opioids.

The KDHE said fentanyl continues to drive the uptick in fatal drug overdoses in the state.

“This is largely attributed to increased availability, accessibility and use of illegally manufactured fentanyl statewide,” the state health department said. “Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is often combined with other drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, or used as a standalone drug. Due to its potency, fentanyl-involved overdoses have a fast onset and may be difficult to reverse.”

The KDHE issued a reminder that there are resources available to prevent drug overdoses.

“Those in need of help can call Kansas’s SUD hotline at 866-645-8216 or visit FindTreatment.gov to locate treatment services,” the department said.

You can find more resources, epidemiological data and more information on Kansas’ efforts to prevent drug overdoses here: PreventOverdoseKS.org.

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