Clinical Update

Polysubstance Use: Fentanyl and Stimulants

The United States is in an overdose epidemic, with the CDC estimating that 106,699 individuals died of a drug-involved overdose in 2021 alone. Most deaths involved an opioid, with 80,411 such cases occurring that year.1

Prescription opioids were involved in 16,706 of these cases, leaving the remaining 80% of all opioid overdoses attributable to illicit opioids such as heroin and, most importantly, illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF).1

While most of the attention is focused on opioids, there has also been a sharp rise in overdoses involving stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine. In 2021, of the 106,699 estimated drug overdose deaths, 50% (53,495) involved stimulants, with methamphetamine involvement in 32,537 and cocaine involved in 24,486 deaths. The majority of these deaths also included an opioid.1