The opioid epidemic is causing overdose deaths to skyrocket at an alarming rate — now even with cocaine, which is widely viewed as a party drug.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid “roughly 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine,” is largely to blame. The fatal drug has made its way into cocaine batches across the states, putting users at a higher risk than ever. It’s cut in to make drugs stronger, but in reality it only makes them more deadly.

According to officials, more than 4,000 people died from such drug overdoses in Ohio alone in 2016 — and cocaine mixed with fentanyl accounted for approximately 1,000 of those. That’s 1 in 4. Deaths related to cocaine cut with fetenayl are increasing rapidly, according to various reports and Daily Caller is just one of them.

Ohio isn’t the only state seeing a spike in fentanyl laced cocaine. Florida figures reveal that cocaine related deaths surged 57% over 2015 and claimed 2,882 lives. Recently the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) detected fentanyl in multiple cocaine samples, and have released a public warning.

What’s more — in 2016, fentanyl overtook heroin as the deadliest substance in the U.S. Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl and other analogs, claimed a startling 20,100 lives in 2016, up from 9,945 in 2015. With this, drug ODs are now the leading cause of accidental death for Americans under 50 — according to Daily Caller.

Deputy director of the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team (Ohio), Andrea Boxill addresses the issues:

Anytime you use an illicit drug, there’s really no safety valve. It’s not as if you have the FDA monitoring and regulating cocaine and its potency. So, using substances illegally, you’re always taking a chance.

Source: Daily Caller