US authorities warn of a wave of “mass overdoses” linked to fentanyl

“Over the past two months, there have been at least seven confirmed cases of mass overdoses in the United States, which have resulted in 58 overdoses and 29 deaths,” the DEA said on Wednesday.

The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) warned on Wednesday of a wave of “mass overdoses” linked to drugs containing lethal doses of fentanyl, a synthetic opiate that is wreaking havoc among users. in the USA.

In a letter to law enforcement nationwide, the DEA lists seven cases since January in which multiple people died of overdoses in the same geographic area after unknowingly ingesting the opiate.

Many of the victims “thought they were using cocaine and had no idea they were using fentanyl”, considered 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin and 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, it adds. she.

A highly addictive product

In a district of the capital Washington, ten people overdosed on January 28 after consuming crack, a derivative of cocaine, mixed with fentanyl. Nine died.

On March 4, 21 people overdosed and three died after taking crack and crystal meth containing the opiate at a homeless shelter in Austin, Texas.

“Fentanyl is highly addictive, found in all 50 states, and drug dealers are increasingly mixing it with other drugs – powder or tablets – in an effort to increase addiction and attract repeat customers. “, underlines the DEA.

According to her, fentanyl is contained in counterfeit pills of OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin, powerful painkillers popular with drug addicts.

This opiate (cheap to manufacture and already deadly in very small doses) and other synthetic substances were detected in two-thirds of the 105,000 overdose deaths recorded between October 2020 and October 2021, according to the agency. The DEA has advised law enforcement agencies across the country to consider fentanyl to be involved in all drug cases they handle.

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