Fentanyl is in

New Hampshire

Over the past five years, incidents of fentanyl overdoses have been more prevalent than any other illicit drug in New Hampshire. Because it is very hard to detect outside of a lab setting and is regularly mixed in with other drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine, a single use can be deadly. In fact, fentanyl accounted for over 80% of drug overdose deaths in New Hampshire in 2023.

Fentanyl is widespread and deadly

and it’s here in New Hampshire.

While fentanyl use is a major national issue, it is hitting home in New Hampshire as the drug continues to be discovered in more substances. NH State Police report that fentanyl is now showing up in over half of the drug samples submitted to the Forensic Laboratory in 2022 – nearly a 70% increase over 2021.

What is fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin and morphine. Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for pain management for the treatment of cancer patients. The type of fentanyl we are talking about is not the fentanyl that you would receive in a healthcare setting. A dose the size of a few grains of salt can be lethal and it is often found to be mixed with other illicit substances. It is now regularly seen in fake pills branded as Oxycodone® and Percocet® among others.

more powerful than heroin
0 x
stronger than morphine
0 x

2 mg

is enough to be lethal (the same as a few grains of salt)

Source: 2022 DEA Laboratory testing results

Powder Stats

0 kg

of powder seized

In August and September 2021, working with federal, state, and local law enforcement, the DEA seized 712 kg of fentanyl powder. Fentanyl powder has been a common adulterant in drugs sold as heroin since 2014.

US DEA, 2021b
Ciccarone et al., 2017, Olives et al., 2017, Slavova et al., 2017

Did you know?

Weight of powder fentanyl seizures increased from 298.2 kg in 2018 quarter one to 2416.0 kg in 2021 quarter four.



NH overdose deaths

in 2023 from substances with fentanyl present.


On the Rise


fake pills seized

In 2022, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration seized over 50.6 million fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills and more than 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder. The DEA Laboratory estimates that these seizures represent more than 379 million potentially deadly doses of fentanyl – a number that exceeds the entire population of the U.S.

Source: 2022 DEA Laboratory testing results

NH is no exception

In 2022, over 50% of all drug cases examined by the NH State Police Forensic Laboratory contained fentanyl. That compares to just under 30% in 2019, and under 1% 10 years ago.

Source: NH State Police Forensic Laboratory testing results

Know the Risk

Made to look similar

Fake pills are made to look similar to real prescription medications – including Oxycodone® and Percocet® – but only contain filler and fentanyl and can be deadly.

Source: 2022 DEA Laboratory testing results

While 79% of teens say stress and anxiety are common reasons to misuse prescription medicine,

0 %

report they hadn’t heard of the risk of fentanyl being added to counterfeit pills.

Source: Morning Consult commissioned by Snap Inc. in July. 2021

6 out of

fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl, an increase from 4 out of 10 in 2021.

Source: 2022 DEA Laboratory testing results

Other frequently encountered fake pills seen in the NH State Police Forensic Laboratory include those posing as the prescription medications Adderall® and Xanax® and they are found to contain Methamphetamine or other chemicals created to mimic the effects of the actual prescribed compounds.

Source: NH State Police Forensic Laboratory

Fentanyl powder has been a common adulterant in drugs sold as heroin since 2014, and this potent opioid has also been detected in non-opioid street drugs such as cocaine.

Ciccarone et al., 2017, Olives et al., 2017, Slavova et al., 2017
DiSalvo et al., 2020; US DEA, 2017

In 2022, 78 of the 486 NH overdose deaths were from a combination of fentanyl and Methamphetamine.

As of February 13, 2023

Source: New Hampshire Office of Chief Medical Examiner Drug Data

What is


Naloxone is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist—meaning that it binds to opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of other opioids, such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone. Administered when a patient is showing signs of opioid overdose, naloxone is a temporary treatment and its effects do not last long. Therefore, it is critical to obtain medical intervention as soon as possible after administering/receiving naloxone.