King County warns public about fentanyl overdoses after 2 teens die

VIDEO: Fentanyl-laced drugs linked to increase in King County overdose deaths, officials say

On Wednesday morning, King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht held a news conference over the recent fentanyl deaths in the county.

student at Skyline High School died Sunday of a drug overdose and this is the second student who has died of the same overdose in less than two months, officials said.

Johanknecht said the teens overdosed on counterfeit pain killers that detectives believe were laced with fentanyl.

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There is still an open investigation into their deaths and investigators are working to track where the teens got the drugs.

Officials with Public Health of Seattle and King County say there have been increases in overdose deaths, driven primarily by fentanyl found in pills and powders.

Public Health has been tracking drug overdose deaths. Between mid-June to mid-September 2019, 141 suspected and confirmed drug overdose deaths have occurred, compared to the 109 overdose deaths that occurred in this same period in 2018.

According to Public Health, the number of overdose deaths involving fentanyl has substantially increased in recent years, from 23 deaths in 2016, to 33 deaths in 2017, and to 66 deaths in 2018.

So far in 2019, as of last week there have been 63 deaths, with many more cases pending investigation.

"This increase in fentanyl-associated deaths among people using illicit opioid pills and powders is alarming," said Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for Public Health – Seattle and King County. "Fentanyl is a drop-dead drug — anyone using illicit opioid pills or powder should seek treatment for opioid use disorder and take precautions to prevent a fatal overdose."

Click here, to find resources on preventing opioid overdose.

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