ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Experts call it an alarming trend: overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids have increased more than any other category of opioids.
According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, overdoses involving Fentanyl, and opioids similar to Fentanyl, increased by 910 percent between 2013 and 2016.
August 31 is recognized as International Overdose Awareness Day. The month of September is National Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month.
"While fatal overdose deaths involving opioids have increased in Illinois during the past five years, the number of deaths involving synthetic opioids has increased even more dramatically," said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah., M.D., J.D. "It is important that we raise awareness and recognize this growing problem and work together to prevent these deaths and the devastating pain family and friends experience."
Drugs like Oxycodone, Heroin, Morphine, Methadone, Fentanyl, and Tramadol are all considered synthetic opioids.
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, common street names for Fentanyl include Apache, China Girl, China Town, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfellas, Great Bear, He-Man, Jackpot, King Ivory, Murder 8, and Tango & Cash.
Illinois is one of 19 states that has experienced a significant increase in drug overdoses. Just last year, there were 1,889 opioid overdose deaths reported. That's an increase of 73% from 2013.
Nationally, the number of deaths due to opioid overdose quadrupled from 1999 to 2015, according to research from the IDPH.
International Overdose Awareness Day also aims to reduce the stigma of drug-related death and also to acknowledge the grief felt by those who have lost a loved one as a result of a drug overdose.