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Fatal overdoses tied to synthetic opiate hit NC

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- North Carolina officials say a synthetic drug five times stronger than heroin is being blamed for three deaths last month in Sampson, Person and Transylvania counties.

The state Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday that toxicology results on the victims detected acetyl fentanyl, a new kind of injected illegal opiate that resembles heroin but is much more potent.

The US Centers for Disease Control alerted public health agencies and emergency departments last June to be on the lookout for the drug and to have adequate supplies of an emergency antidote.

The alert came after Rhode Island officials reported 14 overdose deaths from the drug last year. There have been dozens of other deaths in Pennsylvania, Louisiana and elsewhere.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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