NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) — Delaware public health officials are reporting a record number of deaths from suspected drug overdoses in August.
Officials said Tuesday that the 39 deaths reported last month is the highest since they began tracking deaths from suspected overdoses in late 2013. The previous monthly high was 27 deaths in April.
Officials suspect many of the overdoses involved fentanyl, a highly toxic synthetic opioid far more potent than heroin.
Last year, about 60 percent of the state's 345 overdose deaths involved fentanyl, while 40 percent involved heroin.
Last year's death toll was up 12 percent from 2016. As of Saturday, there have been 202 deaths from suspected overdoses this year. But officials note that because of a lag in toxicology analyses, the total number of deaths likely is much higher.