PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Fentanyl is not a new drug, but it suddenly seems to be everywhere. And it’s wreaking havoc throughout Arizona, often with deadly consequences.
[SPECIAL SECTION: Fentanyl's Fatal Fallout]
“We are certainly in the middle of a crisis -- a public health crisis -- an epidemic of proportions that we have not seen,” said Dr. Patrice Harris, the president-elect American Medical Association.
“Some news sources have coined fentanyl as the deadliest drug in the world,” Stephanie Siete of Community Bridges explained. “So, it’s pretty deadly. It can be potent in first use. Someone could die -- could overdose -- from one-time use.”
Arizona’s Family has been detailing the deadly impacts – families losing loved ones to accidental overdoses.
Since 2017, more than 18,000 Arizonans have overdosed on opioids, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services website. More than 2,400 people have died.
Fentanyl is playing a significant role in the rising death rates.
“Currently most of the overdose deaths are related to fentanyl,” Harris said.
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Police are finding more and more drugs laced with fentanyl, like the “M-30s” that were the subject of a recent CBS 5 Investigates story.
Dr. Frank LoVecchio of the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center compares taking an M-30 to playing the game Russian Roulette.
Because of the way the pills are made, no two are the same. Each one contains a different amount of fentanyl.
“Bottom line, you never know what you’re getting, and no one should take unknown substances into their bodies -- kids, adults, no one,” Siete said. “Never take an unknown substance into your body because it can be dangerous or deadly.”
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