Tuesday, June 21, 2016

St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Warns of a New Drug Trend: Fentanyl

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Vice/Narcotics Division is issuing a warning regarding the powerful opioid pain reliever fentanyl. The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office reports a rise in fentanyl-related overdoses and the sale of fentanyl on the streets.

“Fentanyl has been a problem for other jurisdictions nationwide and unfortunately, it has presented itself locally in St. Mary’s County. Although there has only been a few cases reported, the Sheriff’s Office remains proactive by identifying developing trends in our community, in addition to keeping our citizens aware and up-to-date with the most current information,” said Captain Daniel Alioto, Vice/Narcotics Commander.

Fentanyl can be used safely if prescribed, but is a killer on the streets. Fentanyl is a schedule II narcotic controlled substance and is often seen in patch form when prescribed to the terminally ill. It’s an analgesic and an anesthetic, 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, and 30 to 50 times stronger than heroin, and the most powerful opiate available.   Fentanyl is transdermal; it can be easily absorbed through the skin.

This powerful drug is often paired with heroin or benzodiazepines to quicken the onset and enhance the high. Often, a minuscule amount of Fentanyl, in a powder form, is all it takes for an overdose to occur.

Many abusers believe they are purchasing heroin or don’t know the heroin or drug they are consuming has been laced with fentanyl.  Many forms of Fentanyl are being imported from Mexico and China as well as being developed from synthetic ingredients and sold illegally.

For educational purposes, the Sheriff’s Office encourages the community to watch a video being circulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency, warning of fentanyl poisoning.

For additional questions, contact Captain Alioto, Vice/Narcotics Commander by email at Daniel.Alioto@stmarysmd.com