Western Iowa police investigate 6 overdoses on synthetic opioid


COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) Police in western Iowa are investigating after six people suffered opioid overdoses in Council Bluffs this week.

The Daily Nonpareil reports that two men were treated for overdoses at separate Council Bluffs hospitals about half-an-hour apart Wednesday night.

A day earlier, three people were found unconscious in a Council Bluffs gas station parking lot and another man found unresponsive at a nearby home. All have since been treated and released.

All were suspected of having overdosed on fentanyl, a powerful synthetic painkiller long used to treat cancer patients and others suffering chronic pain.

Opioids are behind the deadliest drug overdose epidemic in U.S. history. More than 52,000 Americans died of overdoses in 2015 - a record - and experts believe the numbers have continued to rise.

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