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DEA Warns That Fentanyl Is Causing ‘Mass-Overdose Events’ Nationwide

The DEA seized 15,000 pounds of fentanyl in one year. Photo: Shutterstock

By Steve Neavling

The DEA warned local authorities about “mass-overdose events” from fentanyl. 

In a letter to local, state and federal law enforcement, the DEA said there has been a nationwide spike in fentanyl-related mass overdoses, which is defined as three or more overdoses in the same location within a close time frame.

The DEA reported at least seven confirmed mass overdose events nationwide, which resulted in 58 total overdoses and 29 overdose-related deaths. 

The events include six overdoses at a rental property in Wilton Manors, Fla., 21 overdoses – three of them fatal – at a homeless shelter in Austin, Texas, and 10 overdoses – nine of them fatal – on the same block in Washington D.C. 

In many of the events, fentanyl was mixed with cocaine or crack-cocaine, and the drug users did not know they were ingesting fentanyl. 

“These mass-overdose events typically occur in one of the following recurring scenarios: when drug dealers sell their product as “cocaine,” when it actually contains fentanyl; or when drug dealers sell fake prescription pills designed to appear nearly identical to legitimate prescriptions,” the letter states. “This is creating a nationwide trend where many overdose victims are dying after unknowingly ingesting fentanyl.” 


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