Phoenix police crime lab supervisor says fentanyl has taken over their lab

The City of Phoenix is on its way to a record-breaking year when it comes to testing fentanyl in the Phoenix Crime Lab.
Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 6:16 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Phoenix police crime lab says they used to see mostly meth and heroin, but now fentanyl has completely taken over.

They say they’re seeing many people knowingly buy and take fentanyl pills. “Right now, yes, we are on pace to test more fentanyl this year than we did in 2021. Last year, it was 4,600 identifications, and right now, we’re on pace for about 5,400 identifications this year,” said Roger Schneider, who supervises the drug section at the lab.

He said fentanyl made up more than half of their work last year. “Starting in about 2017, that’s when we saw the switch. Since that point in time, the amount of heroin we’ve been seeing has been decreasing routinely, and the amount of fentanyl is just going up and up,” he said. To make matters worse, he said many users are building up a tolerance. “My counterparts in the toxicology section here, they’re testing people’s body fluids for the presence of fentanyl. They’re seeing levels of fentanyl in individuals that, by the textbook, you shouldn’t be alive,” he said.

As far as officers on the streets, they’ve also had to adjust to the increase. The Phoenix Police Department said all patrol officers now carry at least two doses of Narcan. “All of our officers coming out of the academy are receiving that training going forward, and our entire patrol division is trained on it as well,” said Sgt. Vincent Cole. The department says officers are administering Narcan at least 3 to 5 times a week on average. Whenever someone needs more than two doses, they usually call in the fire department. Phoenix fire officials say they estimate using at least 12 to 24 doses a day.