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Fort Worth Police Warn About Rise In Fentanyl-Related Overdoses

Fentanyl laced pills
AP
/
U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah
File photo provided by the U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah and introduced as evidence in a 2019 trial shows fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills collected during an investigation.

The MedStar ambulance service has seen an increase in opioid overdoses. Meanwhile, local law enforcement says fentanyl, a powerful and deadly synthetic opioid, is becoming more prevalent.

The Fort Worth Police Department has issued a warning about a rise in overdoses tied to fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid, in and around Fort Worth.

The area has recently seen an overall rise in opioid overdoses. The Fort Worth-based ambulance service MedStar reports that from March of last year to March of this year, first responders treated 258 people for opioid overdoses — up more than 50% from the same period a year before.

medstar OD data
Matt Zavadsky
/
MedStar
This chart shows the increase in patients who need the opioid-overdose reversing drug Narcan. The data was collected by MedStar, a Fort Worth-based ambulance service.

Fort Worth Police report a substantial increase in illicit distribution and possession of fentanyl.

Officer Jermy Prescott, who works on a task force that targets opioids, said that could be connected to the rise in overdoses. He warns about so-called cloned pills that have fentanyl in them but look a lot like real oxycodone pills.

"Our warning to people that are buying these pills, is that if you’re buying these pills and not getting them issued from a pharmacy, you are more than likely buying pills that contain fentanyl," he said.

Prescott said for those struggling with addiction, it's a good idea to keep the opioid overdose-reversing drug Narcan on hand.

Got a tip? Email Miranda Suarez at msuarez@kera.org. You can follow Miranda on Twitter @MirandaRSuarez.

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Miranda Suarez is KERA’s Fort Worth reporter. Before coming to North Texas, she was the Lee Ester News Fellow at Wisconsin Public Radio, where she covered statewide news from the capital city of Madison. Miranda is originally from Massachusetts and started her public radio career at WBUR in Boston.