It’s a synthetic opiate that can be up to 100 times stronger than morphine.
And in the last several weeks, law enforcement in San Joaquin County have come across pills that appear to be pharmaceutical narcotics but actually contain fentanyl — a dangerous and potentially deadly drug that can be absorbed through the skin if touched.
According to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, blue pills that bore the markings of generic oxycodone pills have been discovered in circulation on the street and after lab testing came back as positive for a mixture of fentanyl and alcohol — a deadly combination that has led to the rise in overdose deaths in cities across the country.
“The bottom line is to only use medication that is prescribed for you,” said San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department Spokesperson Andrea Lopez. “Taking a prescription that is not prescribed for you is not only illegal, but can be deadly.
“Street drugs are not made by pharmacists.”
With a nationwide opiate epidemic fueled at least partially by street drugs like the ones discovered that are far more potent than their markings make them appear, law enforcement agencies have taken to having officers carry doses of the life-saving drug naloxone to counter the effects of drugs like fentanyl — both for the people that they encounter, and for the officers themselves.
Because fentanyl is transdermal and can be inhaled if small particles become airborne, law enforcement officers and first responders are now at an increased risk of accidental ingestion or overdose simply because the drugs are circulating amongst the populace.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.