State and South Florida statistics show a staggering increase in deaths as a congressional hearing in Washington focused on state’s growing drug problem.
William Logan Kennedy, a chronic drug abuser who cycled in and out of Miami jails, died last year slumped over his bed in an Overtown home. Next to him: a syringe and a bag of what was suspected to be heroin.
It wasn’t. Instead, toxicologists determined this year, the 49-year-old handyman succumbed to a more dangerous and potent painkiller called fentantyl — a synthetic narcotic often peddled to unknowing users as heroin.
Kennedy was only latest victim of fentanyl, which is a growing and major contributor to a sharp spike in abuse deaths from hard-core opioids in Florida. In a newly released report, medical examiners statewide recorded a doubling in combined deaths from fentanyl and heroin.