Charleston police seeing increase of fentanyl mixed with other illicit drugs

Charleston police seeing increase of fentanyl mixed with other illicit drugs
"Recovered yellow and blue pills resembling OxyContin hydrochloride are illicit nonpharmaceutical pills containing Fentanyl," Charleston police officials said regarding the photo. (Source: Charleston Police Department)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Officials with the Charleston Police Department say they are seeing an increase use of fentanyl being mixed with heroin, cocaine and marijuana.

“Fentanyl has also been found in non-pharmaceutical “imitation” pills that replicate Percocet, Oxycodone and Xanax,” CPD officials said.

In addition, police reported to have also seen fentanyl disguised to replicate other illegal drugs such as cocaine and MDMA (Ecstasy / Molly).

“These types of cases have been seen in every area of our city, state and even nationally,” Charleston police said.

In 2020, the City of Charleston recorded 215 overdose cases of which 44 resulted in fatalities, according to a report by CPD officials.

In 2021 to date there have been 47 overdose cases, 12 of which resulted in a fatality, police said.

Anyone with information related to the distribution of illegal drugs is encouraged to contact Crime stoppers at (843) 754-9695 or the Charleston Police Department Special Investigations Unit at (843) 724-5074.

The Charleston Police Department released the following additional information.

When Fentanyl is added to the mix, the potential for addiction and deadly overdose increases exponentially.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine and 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin. Ingesting as little as two or three grains of Fentanyl can have deadly consequences.

When Fentanyl is laced into illicit drugs or narcotics one can’t predict how much of the drug is in any given batch or pill. Often the user has no idea they’re ingesting Fentanyl. What they believe is their normal dose has the potential be far more potent than they intended. Taking illicit drugs or narcotics tainted with Fentanyl can lead to coma or death within minutes.

In 2020 the City of Charleston recorded 215 overdose cases of which 44 resulted in fatalities. In 2021 to date there have been 47 overdose cases, 12 of which resulted in a fatality.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that was originally introduced as an alternative painkiller to morphine. When it was developed in the late 1950s, it was used to ease pain for terminally ill patients. It’s still used medically in some cases to treat severe pain after surgery, for those who have a tolerance for opioids, or for managing pain in end-of-life care. Because it’s still considered to have acceptable medicinal uses, it’s classified as a Schedule II controlled substance.

As the number of deaths from opioid misuse and abuse increase, it has become too easy to lose sight of those who have been impacted by this and tragic epidemic. For those struggling with

Addiction, or the family members that are seeing this occur before their eyes, many struggle to find the right resources and/or are unware of those resources that are available.

The Charleston Center (Charleston County) offers outpatient services, medication-assisted treatment, medical detoxification, counseling, residential services for women and men, residential programs for women who are pregnant and/or parenting young children, and financial assistance is available. They can be reached at 843-958-3300 / 843-722-0100 (24 hours).

Additional information about DHEC opioid prevention programs for families and community organizations is available at www.scdhec.gov/opioid-epidemic

Anyone with information related to the distribution of illegal drugs is encouraged to contact Crimestoppers at 843-754-9695 or the Charleston Police Department Special Investigations Unit at 843-724-5074.

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