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Fentanyl laced heroin overdose deaths

The city of Philadelphia saw at least 28 overdose deaths from a combination of fentanyl-laced heroin over a period of approximately 47 days in March and April 2014. That may not be all the overdose deaths attributed to the powerful drug combo as 7 more autopsies are awaiting toxicology reports.

Heroin use and addiction is bad enough, but when laced with fentanyl you may die
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Fentanyl is a highly potent narcotic (opioid) analgesic. The drug works in the brain, and nervous system causing anesthesia, as well as a reduction in pain. Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine, and often used in surgery.

Philadelphia is no stranger to fentanyl-laced heroin overdose deaths. Last year 24 died from the combination drug. And in 2006 the drug was implicated in 269 deaths according to The Partnership at

Fentanyl-laced heroin has been making its rounds in other states as well. Fifty fatal overdoses were suspected in Philadelphia, Maryland, and Michigan earlier in the year. "In January, there were 22 such deaths reported in Rhode Island. These trends can expand quickly to include large and more distant geographic areas of the country. There have already been reported cases in New Jersey, and Vermont," reported via the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Flint, Michigan saw 4 fentanyl-laced heroin overdoses, and the drug has been found in Detroit as well. The drug mix is dangerous as the person using this stuff does not know the "dose" level, nor potency of it. Overdosing on opiates can cause you to actually smother to death as it slows down, and even stops your breathing. The author has been there a long time ago suffering a drug overdose on heroin, and nearly died. It's no joke.

"SAMHSA recently released an Opioid Overdose Toolkit containing information on recognizing and responding appropriately to overdose in a manner suitable to a variety of stakeholders. It can be read or downloaded at the following link:


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"One person dies every 19 minutes from a drug overdose in the United States and that trend is being driven by prescription (Rx) painkillers." (

If you or a loved one needs help with any type of drug abuse/addiction problem, contact these sites depending on where you live. SEMCA (Wayne County residents), CARE (Macomb County residents), PACE (Oakland County residents), Drug Free Detroit (City of Detroit residents). For those residing outside the State of Michigan, contact SAMHSA for assistance. For assistance with medical marijuana issues contact The Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, Michigan Medical Marijuana Certification Center, or, phone number: (313) 967-9999, or (248) 677-2888.

Substance abuse and mental health treatment locator here: SAMSHA

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