Dangerous fentanyl being mixed with cocaine is a game changer

Michael Ronnebaum
October 24, 2017 - 5:53 am

A report out of Tennessee shows drug dealers are starting to cut cocaine with fentanyl, a potent opioid that is linked to overdose deaths across the country.

Dealers have used fentanyl to cut heroin and other opioids for years, but finding it in cocaine is considered a game-changer. 

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is used clinically as a powerful pain reliever. In certain doses, the drug can be 50 to 100 times as potent as morphine.

As reported in USA Today, even trace amounts of fentanyl — the equivalent of a grain of salt — could be enough to trigger an overdose.

"Anytime anybody takes illicit drugs, whether it's in pill form or injected, there's a significant risk that goes with that," said Lt. Paul Nonnast, Johnson County Sheriff's Office. "You really never know what you're putting in your body."

Deputies have seen at least five fentanyl deaths in Johnson County, Kansas since last year. 

"The individual now taking it is not being monitored by their doctor as they should be and they're clearly using it for purposes other than it was intended," Nonnast said.

Because of its extreme potency, authorities have been forced to change procedures for how they handle fentanyl.

Since 2000, deaths from fentanyl have surpassed those from heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.

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