York Coroner: Potent drug linked to heroin overdoses

Written by Hafiz Rashid, York Daily Record | Jan 20, 2016 11:28 AM

In this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, photo, used heroin syringes and cooking spoons are found hidden at the base of trees as Steve Monnin cleans a wooded area of Combs Park in Hamilton, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called a heroin use a national epidemic and it is hitting hard in southern Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

(York) -- Heroin-related overdoses in York County have increasingly involved the drug Fentanyl, according to a series of tweets from the York County Coroner's Office.

Specifically, 16 of the last 25 confirmed heroin-related overdoses in the county since September 2015, and 29 of the 59 of the county's total heroin-related overdoses in 2015 have involved the drug, which is a synthetic opiod often mixed with heroin, according to the coroner's office.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent then heroin, and a small dose could be fatal, the coroner's office tweeted.

The coroner's office warns that heroin users may think they are receiving heroin when they are actually getting Fentanyl, and urges family members and friends of heroin users to look for signs of an overdose. The overdose antidote Naloxone should be obtained, the office tweeted.

These signs include "snoring or gurgling-type" breathing, slow breathing, difficulty speaking despite being awake, a limp body, blue fingernails and lips, choking sounds, vomiting and unconsciousness. Someone who is making unusual sounds while sleeping should be woken up as they could be overdosing, the coroner's office said.

The coroner's office advised people to call iWILLrecover at 1-888-567-6531, Not One More at 717-424-8890 or 717-850-6350 for information on how to obtain Naloxone. The office also said to call White Deer Run at 1-866-769-6822 for emergency drug detox.

This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

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