Friday, October 22, 2021

Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine Linked to Increase in Overdoses Across U.S.

Fuquan Johnson (Getty)
Fuquan Johnson (Getty)

*We previously reported that comedian Fuquan Johnson and two others were found dead following a suspected drug overdose at a LA party on Friday night. According to TMZ,  emergency personnel pronounced them dead at the scene. 

The fourth person, comedian/model Kate Quigley, was hospitalized in critical condition. Comedian Brian Redban “posted an update on Kate’s health, and she appears to have responded to him saying she’s alive, although not doing great,” the outlet writes. 

Apparently, the party-goers overdosed on cocaine laced with fentanyl. As TMZ notes, it’s unclear who originally supplied the coke… “Because of that … we’re told it’s hard to tell if any charges might come of this — as our sources say they don’t know, for now, where the drugs came from”

READ MORE: Comedian Fuquan Johnson and Two Others Dead – Fentanyl Laced Cocaine Suspected

Per Insider: Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid, and it’s driving an increase in overdoses across the US. Similar overdoses have been reported from Long Island, New York, to Lincoln, Nebraska. Fentanyl is often mixed with other narcotic drugs, such as heroin, to make them more potent, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

Here’s more from the outlet:

If you use any hard drugs, keep test strips and naloxone on hand

Fentanyl test strips can tell you if a substance contains fentanyl in just a few minutes with about 97% sensitivity.

The over-the-counter strips are available at harm-reduction sites such as syringe exchanges, as well as online and in some corner stores, according to the Health Affairs journal blog.

The strips work like many other testing kits: mix the drug with a buffer solution or water until it dissolves, then place the paper strip in the solution. The strip will change color or show a line if the liquid tests positive for fentanyl.

If you’re a regular user of any hard drugs – not just heroin or opioids – it would be wise to keep naloxone on hand in case of emergency. Also known as Narcan, the anti-overdose drug is available without a prescription at most major US pharmacies, or online from Naloxone Exchange.

A negative test strip is not an ‘all clear’

Testing your drugs for fentanyl can provide some peace of mind, but it does not guarantee the substance is free from all synthetic opioids.

There are several variations of fentanyl and similarly dangerous substances, and test strips may only screen for the most common ones, professor Jonathan Caulkins of Carnegie Mellon University told VICE.

If you only test a small portion of the drugs, fentanyl or another synthetic opioid could be hiding somewhere else in the bag. It’s not always distributed evenly, so your next hit could be extra potent even if the sample tested negative.

Read the original article on Insider

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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