Last week Florida first responders started warning residents about the rising threat from cocaine cut with deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl, which they say is becoming “widespread.”
The combination has been identified in 21 counties, including Broward, Palm Beach, and Saint Lucie counties. However, Miami-Dade County has so far found the most, with 69 cocaine samples testing positive for synthetic opioids.
According to Justin Millers, DEA Miami Field Division, as reported by the Daily Caller:
“People are thinking they are taking straight cocaine and in fact, they are not. Now you are seeing it cut or mixed with synthetic opioids. That’s really what’s scary out there.”
Some people believe that fentanyl showing up in cocaine is accidental as a product of messy packaging rather than malicious intent, whichever is the case authorities are warning individuals who are using cocaine that there have been several cases of overdoses where the toxicology reports show that cocaine and fentanyl were present in the individual’s system and what is alarming is that the individuals revived by EMT personnel, police officers and physicians, claimed they had only used cocaine.
While law enforcement agents, doctors, and recovery providers argue for malicious intent as a way for drug dealers expand the market of people addicted to opioids, Albie Park, who co-founded the Drug Use Harm Reduction Program out of Northampton (HRH413), says there is a flaw with this expansion theory.
"If you're opioid-naive (with no tolerance for opioids) and you take fentanyl, there's a good chance you'll die," Park says. "So adding fentanyl to cocaine may just scare people away."
Whatever is happening out there, malicious or not, based on the Florida Medical Examiner’s Commission report, more than 1,700 people died of cocaine-related overdoses in Florida, more than any other drug-related death. The DEA says that a surge in deaths has increased for four years in a row.