Florida leads nation in overdose deaths related to new synthetic drug, eutylone

A new synthetic drug – eutylone – is making its way across the country. Florida is the top state with overdose deaths related to it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out a recent warning eutylone is spreading quickly across the country, driven partially by a rise in its prevalence in Florida.

The CDC describes it as a synthetic, psychoactive bath salt. According to a recent CDC report, in 2020, the agency recorded nearly 350 eutylone-related deaths, more than half of which occurred in Florida; 182 Floridians died after using eutylone that year.

The CDC said more than 75% of all eutylone-involved overdose deaths were concentrated in two southern states: Florida and Maryland.

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John Templeton Jr., with Footprints Beachside Recovery, a rehabilitation center in Pinellas County, said his facility is seeing people deal with this drug more than ever.

"We do have to alarm the public, let them know how truly deadly this is," Templeton said. "If you show a graph of opioid deaths from three years ago, 10 years ago, the trajectory is nothing we've ever seen."

According to the CDC, eutylone is often mixed with fentanyl, which is a deadly opioid blamed for the deaths of more than 6,000 Floridians in 2020.

The CDC report provided some perspective on how fast the use of eutylone is spreading. From January to June 2017, eutylone was found in less than 10 drug items, like powders, capsules, or tablets. 

During that same period in 2021, however, it was found in more than 8,300 drug items, making it the seventh most identified drug at that time.