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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    A powerful synthetic drug that is being disguised and illegally sold as a prescription painkiller has caused six deaths and 22 overdoses in Sacramento County, Calif., in less than a week, an official said. The episodes, which were reported starting March 24, have been scattered throughout the county of 1.5 million people, said the official, Laura McCasland, a spokeswoman for the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services.

    The victims took what they believed to be Norco, a prescription drug made up of acetaminophen and hydrocodone that is used to treat pain. “In reality, they’re taking fentanyl, which is much, much, much more potent,” Ms. McCasland said.

    Fentanyl is a painkiller that is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin and up to 100 times more potent than morphine. A small amount can be deadly. Roughly 300 grams of fentanyl seized by the authorities. Credit Katherine Taylor for The New York Times.

    In the Sacramento County cases, fentanyl was being produced that was similar in appearance to Norco, Ms. McCasland said. Some overdose survivors said they bought the pills from strangers, and others said that they got them from neighbors and friends, health officials said.

    The cases recorded in Sacramento County are part of a wider drug epidemic that has been fueled by prescription painkillers.

    John J. Martin, the special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s San Francisco field division, said officials nationally were seeing a rise in seizures of fentanyl, which is being produced in China and shipped to Mexico. He said the large number of deaths and overdoses attributed to fentanyl in Sacramento County were a first for his office, which covers 48 California counties.

    The people who overdosed in Sacramento County were evenly divided between men and women, and ranged from 24 to 59 years old, Ms. McCasland said.

    By Christopher Melle - The NY Times/March 30, 2016
    Photo: Globe News
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.

Recent User Reviews

  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Mar 15, 2017
    This is helpful information and giving this news story a single negative star makes no sense at all.
  2. torn2bits
    "This post is a public service of harm reduction"
    1/5, 1 out of 5, reviewed Mar 15, 2017
    1. Beenthere2Hippie
      Then why did you give it a "terrible" rating? The new rating system is way different than the old. Three stars is average, four stars -good; five stars - excellent. One and two stars are bad and terrible.


  1. thirdeyelasik
    I don't understand this...so it was fentanyl sprayed or coated on a pill that looked like a hydro? Isn't fentanyl much more expensive and harder to get?.
  2. prescriptionperil
    No, fentanyl analogs can be easily ordered via the Internet. God, can you imagine someone thinking they're ingesting the weak opiate hydrocodone only to be given fentanyl. The opiate street scene is damn scary.
  3. BB1988
    I know "someone" who had this exact experience not long ago.. They relapsed after running short on their suboxone script for the month. Had to go to the clinic and let the doc know they had taken some oxy. Drug test results came back as Fentanyl and not oxy. Doc said that they were lucky they didn't die. It's a bad problem in Ohio where I live. Over the last 17 months 1000 people have died from ingesting fentanyl thinking its a different substance.
  4. Waiting For The Fall
    This and other news reports will continue to proliferate the news until legislators understand there is only one way to curtail these deaths: legalize all drugs. Only when the drugs are made to pharmaceutical purity standards by pharmaceutical companies will we see a reversal. The drugs should be available to all adults, with the taxation or a percentage of the profits of these drugs, used to pay for drug awareness and realistic recovery programs. This would also apply to the opiate drugs they are currently selling.

    The prices would have to be controlled to keep the drug prices lower or at the same level as street drugs to eradicate them. Although there may be an increase when legalized drugs are first available, if following the history of countries where drugs are legal, the use will stabilize, then taper off.

    I can't understand why pharmaceutical companies aren't lobbying government for this approach, as it would surely boost their profits. It could also reduce the black market of the drugs they currently, legally market.
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