COLORADO SPRINGS — The police department is warning the community about a fentanyl distribution throughout El Paso County.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opiate painkiller, is being mixed with heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine to increase its potency and drive profits, according to police.
Fentanyl can come in several forms including powder, blotter paper, patch, tablets, sprays, and liquid. It is also appearing in the form of counterfeit, or look-a-like, tablets sold as prescription painkillers such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, Percocet, as well as the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.
The El Paso County Coroner’s Office has documented over the years that the amount of deaths related directly to Fentanyl is going up.
2019: 17 deaths (at least 3 of which are recent cases since October and appear to be counterfeit Percocet tablets)
2018: 9 deaths
2017: 5 deaths
In 2019, CSPD Metro Vice, Narcotics, and Intelligence Division seized approximately 35 grams of Fentanyl in various forms. They seized 3,766 dosage units of Fentanyl— most of which was in the form of counterfeit oxycodone, Percocet prescription tablets and counterfeit Xanax bars.
Recent seizures of counterfeit tablets have occurred in El Paso County, wherein the tablets actually contained Fentanyl. According to police, these Fentanyl tablets are marked to mimic the authentic narcotic prescription medication and have led to multiple overdoses and deaths.
Officers say the danger lies in the fact that many dealers and buyers may not know exactly what they are selling or ingesting. The drug is produced clandestinely in Mexico, and also comes directly from China.
Police say many users underestimate the potency of fentanyl, as it is 40 to 50 times stronger than street-level heroin. Fentanyl can be lethal and is deadly even at very low doses. A lethal dose of Fentanyl is estimated to be about two milligrams, but can vary based on an individual’s body size, tolerance, amount of previous usage, and other factors.