Authorities in Pennsylvania believe at least 22 people are dead from exposure to a lethal drug cocktail of heroin and the cancer painkiller fentanyl.
"Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine. One man told us he almost died when he tried it."
"I slowly, slowly lost consciousness and was overdosing in front of my girlfriend." (Via WPXI)
On the streets, it's known as "Theraflu," and officials have asked hospitals to be on the lookout for more overdoses. They are worried the powerful drug could spread to other parts of the state. (Via WPVI)
"17 people died just last week. Folks who know anything are being asked to step up and report the problem before more deaths occur." (Via WTAE)
The CDC reports it comes in crystals or crystalline powder. Fentanyl is an opioid that alleviates pain without the loss of consciousness. It's estimated to be 80 times as potent as morphine and 100 times more potent than heroin.
The problem isn't new to the area. Last year, at least 50 people in Pennsylvania died from the same lethal mix. The state even issued a fentanyl warning last summer. (Via Metro)
CNN quotes Dr. Karl Williams, chief medical examiner in Pennsylvania's Allegheny County, which saw 15 overdoses in the past week. He says,
"This is not accidental. Somebody is deliberately trying to make a big batch of fentanyl. It is not an extraordinarily complex molecule to synthesize, and you can find instructions on the Internet. It does not take a sophisticated chemist to do this."
Police in Pennsylvania say they are teaming up, doing everything they can to get the drug off the street.
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