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Dangerous Dose: Fentanyl overdoses have drug users playing ‘Russian Roulette’

Fentanyl overdoses are increasing nationwide.
Fentanyl overdoses are increasing nationwide.(WLBT)
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 8:11 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - For even the youngest kids, access to recreational drugs is just a click away.

Teens and adults are turning to social media or even their friends to order pills. But the drugs that were delivered, sometimes right to a person’s front door, were not the real thing.

They actually contained fentanyl, a cheap synthetic opioid some 50-to-100 times more powerful than morphine.

The body count from Fentanyl overdoses is alarming. Fake pills containing not just fentanyl, but even methamphetamines as well.

And the amount of fentanyl it takes to kill is horrifying.

Caleb East works metro narcotics in Lafayette County.

“You’re playing Russian Roulette; you’re putting the bullet in the gun, spinning the cylinder and putting it to your head,” East said.

Fentanyl is described by law enforcement as one of the most dangerous and deadly substances ever produced. Lt. Bryan Meyers with Ridgeland Police agrees.

“It’s very strong. It’s much stronger than heroin, stronger than morphine, very dangerous at small amounts.”

Caleb East adds, “These packets of splenda, sweet and low, or whatever, that small package has little granules in it, and just one or two of those little granules is enough to kill you if that’s fentanyl.”

Lt. Meyers works in Madison County, and both East and Alex Fauver work in Lafayette County. 150 miles separate the two communities, but the problem is the same. Opioid addiction is increasing at an alarming rate.

And thanks to street dealers, or even the internet, buying recreational drugs is easier...but who knows what you’re really getting.

“There are no controls with the black market,” Meyers said. “Something you find online, there’s no telling what it is. It could be meth, it could be cocaine, it could be an opioid, it could be heroin. You don’t know what you’re getting.”

And that means fake pills with deadly outcomes.

“We see it in counterfeit oxycodone or Percocet,” Fauver said. “People are buying that on the street, and it looks just like a real Percocet. It’s pressed the same, has the same numbers on it...it may be a little off color.”

Then there are the ones who are looking for the fentanyl and the deadly high.

“They’re just chasing the high,” East said. “They all want the high right before death. Right at death is what they are looking for.”

Officials say when addicts hear of an overdose death, that’s the dealer they want to use.

“These addicts feed off of that,” East said. “They’ll hear about somebody who’s selling that kind of dope and they’ll be like, ‘hey man, he’s got the good stuff,’ and they will go seek that dealer out.”

Families of those destroyed by Fentanyl overdose deaths want young people to know that there is no such thing as a safe street drug.

In fact, a group called VOID, Victims of Illicit Drug use, created a 20 minute video filled with interviews from parents who found their children dead, on the floor or even in their beds, from fentanyl.

Most of the victims in the video were either experimenting or recreational users. One dose killed them.

“You’re playing Russian Roulette,” East said. “That’s what I want them to understand. Yes, that first time you overdose you might make it. We’ve dealt with people personally where we’ve been to their houses 2,3,4 times where they have overdosed and they’ve made it. That 5th time may kill you.”

In Mississippi, 440 people died from overdoses in 2020.

So far in 2021, Lafayette County has had 15 where the person survived. They’ve also had 9 overdoses where the person died.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a hotline for those who are seeking help. Call their national line at 1-800-662-HELP or click here for more info.

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