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article imageOverdose deaths from fentanyl continue to spread in California

By Karen Graham     Mar 31, 2016 in Health
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is taking over an investigation into how fentanyl ended up in street drugs in the Sacramento area of California after a seventh person died from an overdose.
Sacramento County's opiate overdose crisis just keeps on growing. With 21 people hospitalized and seven dead, the West Coast is now part of the latest drug epidemic to hit the U.S. and Canada.
The DEA is investigating Northern California's first major wave of illegal sales of fentanyl, a powerful opiate painkiller. “Obviously, we are aware of the situation in Sacramento. We are looking into it, and we are taking it very seriously,” John Martin, a special agent in charge of the San Francisco office of the DEA was quoted as saying by the Sacramento Bee.
Martin says the first cases were reported on March 25. Along with the spread of fentanyl on the East Coast, he conceded that the spread of fentanyl has become an epidemic in this country. In October last year, Chicago saw over 70 overdoses in a period of 72 hours, all from a mixture of heroin and fentanyl, reported Digital Journal.
The illegal painkiller has reached up into Canada. Digital Journal has been following the spread of fentanyl in Saskatoon and Vancouver since January 2015. The illegal drug has reached into Edmonton and there seems to be no end to the number of people willing to take a street drug that could very well kill them.
What is frightening about the fentanyl on the streets is its potency. The fentanyl powder is pressed into tablets of other drugs, mainly Oxycontin, or mixed with heroin, and then sold on the street. Martin says Mexican drug cartels are purchasing the pure fentanyl powder from dealers in China, where it is manufactured in illicit laboratories.
The batch of fentanyl in this latest wave of overdoses could be the result of a bad batch, Martin says. He adds, “People need to understand the risks of purchasing street drugs.” In 2014, According to the CDC, drug overdoses killed more than 47,000 Americans, the highest annual number of overdoses on record.
More about fentanyl overdoses, seven deaths in a week, serious health threat, Mexican drug cartels, China
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