Officials: Fentanyl surpasses heroin as deadliest drug on LI
Fentanyl has now surpassed heroin as the deadliest drug in Nassau and Suffolk counties, according to medical examiners.
The synthetic opioid can be 100 times more potent than morphine, officials say.
Suffolk Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Caplan told News 12 Long Island that he's seen the number of fentanyl-related deaths in the county quadruple in the last two years.
"We have the ability now through our instrumentation to screen for all of these different opioid classes, along with other opioid drugs that may be in the system," says Dr. Caplan.
Officials say part of the reason for the increase is economic, since fentanyl can be made in a lab and is cheaper than heroin. Often, fentanyl is added to heroin to increase the effects of the drug.
Fentanyl has been linked to at least 220 deaths here on Long Island in 2016. There were 18 deaths due to fentanyl in 2010.