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Fentanyl Overdose Deaths Rise In Conn., Blacks Now Dying At Same Rate As Whites

Bebeto Matthews
An addict injects heroin, even as a fentanyl test strip registered a positive result for contamination.

The synthetic opioid fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin and can easily be fatal. A new study shows fentanyl now kills black people in Connecticut at about the same rate as white people.

Compare that to 2017: The white death rate from fentanyl overdoses was just under 22 for every 100,000 residents. The black death rate was just under 16.

In 2018 that gap closed with death rates for both races just about 23 per 100,000.

The Connecticut Mirror study is based on an analysis of data from the state’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Fentanyl overdoses have risen dramatically in the past few years in Connecticut – the drug played a part in three out of every four overdose deaths in the state last year.

Meanwhile, four inmates at the Hartford Correctional Center were hospitalized after overdosing on fentanyl inside the jail.

Correction Department officials told The Hartford Courant the inmates were found late Thursday night and early Friday morning.

One was in cardiac arrest.

Correction staff had administered the opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan to three of the inmates.

All four were taken to Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. Three have since been returned to the jail. The condition of the fourth inmate has not been released.

Officials say they are investigating to determine how the drugs made their way into the high-security jail, which primarily houses prisoners who are awaiting trial.

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Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.