Drug more potent than heroin linked to 13 local deaths

This undated photo provided by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation shows fake Oxycodone pills that are actually fentanyl that were seized and submitted to bureau crime labs. Street fentanyl is increasingly dangerous to users, with thousands of deaths in recent years blamed on the man-made opiate. But police say officers are at risk, too, because the drug can be inhaled if powder becomes airborne, or it can be absorbed through the skin. Fentanyl is sometimes placed in tablets of counterfeit prescription drugs, but also comes in the form of patches, powder and even sprays. (Tommy Farmer/Tennessee Bureau of Investigation via AP)

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Lafayette law enforcement officials are warning residents about the dangers of abusing the deadly drug fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a potent, synthetic opioid analgesic with rapid onset. The effects only last for a short period of time.

Authorities say fentanyl is being substituted and sold as heroin on the streets of Acadiana.

Drug users are using fentanyl the same way the would use heroin, but fentanyl is estimated to be about 50 times more potent.

Officials with the Lafayette Metro Narcotics, Lafayette Sheriff’s Office, and Lafayette Police Department held a news conference Friday morning to discuss the deadly drug.

Since the beginning of 2016, eight people have died from overdosing on fentanyl in the city of Lafayette and five have died from overdosing on the drug in Lafayette Parish.

Only three people died from fentanyl overdoses in the parish last year. The primary producers of fentanyl are China and Mexico, officials say.

Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mark Garber said even more deaths may be attributed to fentanyl, pending toxicology reports by the coroner’s office.

In a statement following the news conference, the Lafayette Police Department said:

“Local and state law enforcement officials are working together to identify and arrest suppliers and dealers responsible for putting the drug on the streets.”

Anyone with information about the illegal use of fentanyl is encouraged to call Local Law Enforcement or Crime Stoppers at 232-TIPS.

LPD Chief Reginald Thomas and LPSO Sheriff Mark Garber speak at a news conference on August 5, 2016, to discuss the 13 overdose deaths so far this year caused by the synthetic opioid drug fentanyl. (Photo courtesy: Lafayette Police Department)
LPD Chief Reginald Thomas and LPSO Sheriff Mark Garber speak at a news conference on August 5, 2016, to discuss the 13 overdose deaths so far this year caused by the synthetic opioid drug fentanyl. (Photo courtesy: Lafayette Police Department)

 

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