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DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado’s current struggle with fentanyl isn’t unique among U.S. states, but it has been uniquely bad in its severity.

Colorado elected officials have quickly ignited a conversation about fentanyl following the drug overdose deaths of five people in Commerce City. The synthetic opioid is commonly used to lace other drugs such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana.

Colorado had the eighth-highest national increase in fentanyl deaths from 2015 to 2021.

Colorado has experienced 1,578 fentanyl-related deaths since 2015, a 1008% increase in a six-year time span.

Colorado’s fentanyl rates rose even faster in the most recent two-year span. Fentanyl fatalities in
Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi, California and Texas increased by almost five times between 2019 and 2021.