A batch of marijuana and cocaine laced with fentanyl claimed the lives of at least nine people in a northern Florida county over the holiday weekend.
The 4th of July weekend overdoses are believed to be connected to marijuana or cocaine laced with fentanyl. Out of the nine deaths, seven deaths have been confirmed by emergency medical services staff and the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office to be related to the polluted drug supply. Two other deaths are pending investigation. However, they are also highly suspected to be related to the tainted drugs, the Daily Beast reported.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, that is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, has slowly replaced heroin and has been found in adulterated street drugs, from fake Xanax bars to methamphetamines.
Meanwhile, the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office put out an alert seeking the public’s help to warn others of the possibly polluted drug supply. The DEA had previously issued a warning in April about mass overdose events happening around the country due to the powerful opioid, Tallahassee Democrat reported.
“I have not heard of any opioid poisoning here in the county as it relates to fentanyl,” Sheriff Morris A. Young said. “But on Friday, it was very apparent that it was here in the county, and we had about 15 calls related to it.”
The overdose caused four people to go into cardiac arrest and six people to be intubated. One death was related to a traffic crash, where the passenger died after the driver passed out from using drugs.
Out of those who overdosed over the holiday weekend, the youngest person was a 34-year-old man and the oldest was a 67-year-old woman.
“Today we learned of another potential mass fentanyl poisoning event in Gadsden County, Florida,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram in a statement shared on Facebook. “The men and women of the DEA are committed to bringing to justice the criminal drug networks and dealers that are killing Americans by deliberately distributing fentanyl and deceptively mixing it into other substances and into fake pills.”