On October 23, 2015, the San Francisco Department of Public Health released an urgent warning concerning deadly fentanyl disguised as the low-level anti-anxiety medication Xanax. 3 people in San Francisco died as a result of consuming the fentanyl-laced pills. Since that time there have been reported deaths and overdoses attributable to the fake pills in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Tennessee, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. In July 2016, the DEA released a report warning that fentanyl disguised as Xanax, Norco, and Percocet was causing a global health emergency.
Who: San Francisco Department of Public Health, DEA, state and local law enforcement in all 23 states.
When: October 23, 2015, 2015-2016.
Where: San Francisco, California.
How: 3 San Francisco residents died as a result of fentanyl toxicity. Counterfeit Xanax pills laced with fentanyl were found in their possession.
Additional details: DEA investigations have uncovered that fentanyl and chemical analogues are produced in China. Once manufactured, the drugs are shipped in either pill or powder form to Mexico and then smuggled into the U.S. Fentanyl is 25 to 40 times more powerful than heroin and is used as pain medication for cancer patients who no longer respond to regular analgesics. It is a dangerous drug that is normally given to patients in minute doses using a patch or lollypop. Fentanyl is so powerful that even the patches and lollypops cause an overdose if misused.
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