Three people died and two others survived overdosed after ingesting the high-potent drugs last weekend, according to the San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan. The victims ranged in ages from 30 to 47 years old.
Authorities did not disclose where the drugs were distributed or obtained. Various law enforcement agencies are investigating and no arrests were made as of Friday morning. Investigators said the drugs were likely sold by dealers.
It is not possible to know if a product contains fentanyl by looking at it. Drug stores and dealers are not able to test it, according to DEA Special Agent in Charge Karen Flowers. Laboratory testing is the only way to determine if something is laced with the lethal drug.
“Don’t let your loved ones find out the test results at the mortuary,” Flowers said.
The DA’s Office, Drug Enforcement Administration, San Diego Police Department, San Diego County Health and Human Services and San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office came together to issue the public warning.
Deaths specifically from fentanyl or fentanyl in combination with other drugs in San Diego County are spiking. Over 80 fatal overdoses were reported in 2017, more than double the number in 2016. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine even in tiny doses.
“Two milligrams of fentanyl is a fatal dose for most people,” according to the DA’s Office. “Fentanyl can be up to 50 times more potent than heroin, and overdoses may require additional Naloxone to reverse.”
Naloxone is a medication that reverses overdose from opioids. Additional doses of Naloxone are sometimes needed to reverse fentanyl overdoses due to the potency of fentanyl.
People can call the San Diego County Access and Crisis Line 888-724-7240 or 211 San Diego. Both resources are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.