Published: Sun, January 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

'Mass Fentanyl Overdoses' Reported In California

'Mass Fentanyl Overdoses' Reported In California

KPIX Authorities in Chico, California, said drug overdoses at this home are believed to have killed one person and hospitalized 12 others.

While the substance that caused the overdose has not been tested, O'Brien said, "We have every indication that this mass overdose incident was caused from the ingestion of some form of fentanyl in combination with some other substance".

According to local reports, an unnamed man died while another 12 were rushed to hospital, with four of them in a critical condition. Police officers in Chico County carry Naloxone, a medicine used to reverse overdoses, which they gave to the surviving victims.

Chico Fire Department Chief, Steven Standridge, said the pair were "potentially exposed" to fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid that is frequently mixed with heroin.

"Upon arrival, Chico police officers found multiple individuals in what appeared to be life-threatening overdose conditions", he told Fox News.

The drugs are "extraordinarily unsafe", O'Brien noted, saying that even small amounts can be life-threatening, according to the Bee.

It's not clear what drug the fentanyl might have been paired with, he said, but his officers have only come across it when it was combined with heroin.


"We knew Fentanyl had been moving West it really has been in other parts of the country where they're really seeing the greatest impacts of this particular drug", said Chico Police Chief Michael O'Brien.

The home is being treated as a hazardous materials site, and the investigation is ongoing, O'Brien said.

He says he is concerned that fentanyl may become a problem in Chico.

"That is changing, unfortunately", He said, "and now we've had this mass casualty incident ... likely to have been caused by fentanyl".

Over the past few years, Fentanyl has increasingly been responsible for overdose deaths across the United States.

More than 71,500 Americans have died of a drug overdose in 2017, according to data released the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fentanyl was originally developed as a painkiller and anesthetic, but it's 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin.

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