Sept. 8, 2022 – Now heroin, synonymous with illicit drug use in Mid-Atlantic cities since the 1960s, is close to vanishing from the streets of the nation’s capital.

D.C.’s latest opioid overdose statistics, released by city officials in August, show that heroin was detected in only 15 of the 166 opioid deaths recorded in the first five months of 2022. That means just under 1 in 10 overdose victims died after using heroin — either by itself or with other substances — so far this year, compared with more than half of them in 2017.

The figures herald the arrival of a moment long predicted by public health experts: the near-total replacement of heroin by fentanyl, a far more powerful and deadly opioid that has driven drug deaths in America to historic highs.


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