This is Archived Content

This content is available for historical purposes only. It may not reflect the current state of science or language from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). View current alerts on

June 2017

The New York City Health Department is warning citizens who use cocaine------even occasional users--- that the potent opioid fentanyl has been implicated in a growing number of cocaine-involved overdose deaths. In the past, fentanyl has been most commonly present in heroin-involved deaths, but fentanyl is increasingly being identified in overdose deaths involving other drugs.  In  2016, 37 percent of overdose deaths involved cocaine and fentanyl without heroin, up from 11 percent in 2015.

Last year more than 1,300 New Yorkers died of a drug overdose, and nearly half (44 percent) of those deaths involved fentanyl In 2016.  People who use cocaine occasionally and who are not used to taking opioids (i.e., have low tolerance) are considered to be at particularly high risk of overdose death. The NYPD Police laboratory testing data has confirmed the presence of fentanyl in with cocaine products as well as in counterfeit prescription sedatives (e.g., Xanax) and pain relievers purchased on the street, as well as in heroin, ketamine, and methamphetamine.