Reports from health and law enforcement officials in several states this week continued to warn of scattered overdose threats associated with use of heroin laced with the painkiller fentanyl.
Vermont Department of Health officials confirmed Feb. 6 that three drug overdose deaths in Addison County were a result of heroin that contained fentanyl, a potent chemical traditionally used in cancer treatment. “Even a very small amount of pure fentanyl, just a few grains, can stop your breathing and kill,” said state Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD.
In New Jersey, the State Police reported that at least seven recent cases of seizure, overdose or death have occurred from use of fentanyl-laced heroin, according to the Star-Ledger newspaper. The Newark area has been hit particularly hard, according to police officials.
Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island are among the other states where officials are linking recent high numbers of overdose deaths to the presence of fentanyl.