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ST. LOUIS (AP) – Synthetic fentanyl is driving the near-record number of drug overdose deaths in the St. Louis area this year.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the highly potent painkiller is involved in nearly all of the opioid overdose deaths in and around St. Louis.

Brandon Costerison of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse says St. Louis city and county are on pace to see a record-setting number of overdose deaths this year. The St. Louis region had a high of 760 opioid-related deaths last year.

Costerison says fentanyl was identified in up to 95 percent of St. Louis’ overdose deaths. It’s well above the national average where fentanyl was involved in nearly half of the drug overdose cases across the country last year.

Fentanyl can be unknowingly mixed with or sold as heroin, cocaine or methamphetamines.
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch