The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says drug overdose deaths were up in the first half of 2021.

At least 338 Kansas residents died of drug overdose between January 1st and June 30th of 2021.

That’s a 54% increase from the 220 drug overdose deaths in the same 6-month time frame in 2020.

Of the 338 deaths, 149 involved fentanyl or fentanyl analogs, 149 involved methamphetamine, and 40 involved other licit and illicit drugs, such as cocaine and prescription opioids.

More than one drug can be involved in a fatal drug overdose, so these values are not mutually exclusive.

Fentanyl continues to drive the uptick in fatal drug overdoses in Kansas.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is often combined with other drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, or used as a standalone drug.

Due to its potency, fentanyl-involved overdoses have a fast onset and may be difficult to reverse.