Three Fentanyl Overdoses In One Day Raise Opioid Concerns In Fresno County
Law enforcement and health professionals in Fresno are reeling after three people overdosed last week on the opioid drug fentanyl.
The men snorted what they thought was cocaine, said Fresno Deputy Police Chief Pat Farmer in a press conference on Monday. The three men, who took the drug together on January 7, felt something was wrong but fell unconscious and were discovered by a neighbor.
Toxicology tests at Community Regional Medical Center revealed the powder they snorted was likely pure fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that’s 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. One of the men died, but two recovered, thanks to the overdose drug Naloxone, which Farmer said Fresno police officers now carry. "We have about 150 double-doses that we have provided to our officers for cases just like this," he said.
Since 2011, overdoses from fentanyl have more than quadrupled across the state. Before 2010, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said her office had seized only a few illegal patches of the drug. Since then, however, they’ve seized more than four pounds. "So it is becoming more and more of a problem here in our area," she said.
Still, other opioid drugs remain bigger killers in Fresno County. Of the 47 people who died of opioid overdoses here in 2017, fentanyl killed only four.