August 16, 2018, Seattle Times: Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 7,200 drug overdose deaths in 2017, Up more than 6,000 over the previous 12-month period. The increase driven by a continued surge in deaths involving synthetic opioids, a category that includes fentanyl. Deaths from cocaine also shot up significantly, putting cocaine on par with drugs like heroin. Deaths involving painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone appear to have flattened out, suggesting that opiate mortality may be that or near its peak.
Fentanyl, in low doses, has legal uses as a painkiller, but there is a risk of dependency, and addiction. Withdrawal symptoms usually start within 12 hours of the last dose of fentanyl and may last one week or more.
"Some patients and healthcare providers may not be fully aware of the dangers of this very strong narcotic. All of society, including families, schools, the medical community, law enforcement, and government officials should be aware of the potentially lethal outcomes of improper medical and illicit fentanyl use."