Police Departments Issue Warning on Spike in Synthetic Drug Overdoses
Fake Painkillers Laced with Fentanyl Kill at Least One
WINCHESTER, Tenn. – Winchester Police Chief Dennis Young recently issued a warning posted on the city’s Facebook page, one becoming too common in areas all across the country. Police in Friendswood, Texas and Hopkinsville, Kentucky recently issued similar warnings.
Chief Young of Winchester says over the past 2 weeks, they have responded to at least 11 overdoses, one death, life threatening injuries, and none serious accident pertaining to 2 synthetic drugs.
The first is a type of synthetic marijuana with a street name of “Fruity Pebbles”. Chief Young says through interviews users have said that after one puff, they experienced a complete blackout. He says one of the juveniles tried this drug while operating a vehicle and blacked out leaving the roadway and crashed into a light pole.
“Another juvenile experienced the same reaction and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit where he learned that he was having organ failure,” says Chief Young.
K2 spice is commonly sold under the false pretense as spice/potpourri, but actually is altered with a synthetic marijuana chemical. According to the Winchester Police Department, the most recent brand seen on the market is “Fruity Pebbles”, and other names being used are “Bang Bang” and “Diablo”. Chief Young says all are in the same family as K2, just under a different name.
“The poison being sprayed on the latest version of synthetic marijuana hasn’t been identified as of yet and the manufacturers change the chemical makeup on a frequent basis,” says Chief Young. “Our children do not realize the dangers associated with these altered products.”
The Winchester Police Department says these products are marketed to attract the youth under the disguise of smoking undetectable marijuana, but what they don’t know will hurt them.
The second synthetic is in the pill form, labeled Percocet 10/325. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) lab has determined that the active ingredient in these fake pills is actually a drug called Fentanyl, an opiate based drug normally used in a transdermal patch with a slow release.
Chief Young says in the last week alone, they’ve had six reported overdoses in Winchester from these fake pills, with one death reported. Drug dealers are taking advantage of those addicted to the painkillers in the area and selling these fake pills. Thomas Farmer SAC/TBI Director, Tennessee Dangerous Drugs Task Force (TDDTF), formerly named the Tennessee Methamphetamine and Pharmaceutical Task Force,reported they are also seeing fake hydrocodone pills being distributed throughout the state.
“This is the first report of fake percocet that he was aware of,” says Chief Young. “These pills are being created in homemade labs with no quality control to say the least.”
The dosage of fentanyl is different in each pill. Chief Young says taking these pills is like playing Russian Roulette. Any one of these pills can kill you, you just don’t know which one. The Winchester/Franklin County Crime Stoppers program is offering a reward up to $1000 for information leading to the arrest for those manufacturing these fake pills.
“We strongly encourage citizens to warn your family, friends, children and grandchildren of these dangers,” says Chief Young. “Those addicted to painkillers or drugs CAN get help.”
If you have any information on who is manufacturing these drugs, call the Winchester Police Department at 931.967.3840. If you feel you need help with treatment, you can call our 24/7 hotline at 1.888.614.2251, Region 5 South Recovery coordinator Allen Burnette at 931.308.7689, or the Franklin County Prevention Coalition at 931.967.7825.
“Do not buy drugs on the street,” says Chief Young. “You don’t know what you are taking.”