SANTA CLARA COUNTY (KRON) — South Bay law enforcement and public health officials have issued a public health warning about an uptick in deadly fentanyl overdoses.
The fentanyl is turning up across Santa Clara County in counterfeit oxycodone and other pills that contain fentanyl.
The county medical examiner has reported multiple opioid deaths beginning
In June with a sharp uptick in august, including those of a 15 and 16-year-old.
The culprit is fake pills containing fentanyl.
“Why we’re here is a number of young people are dying and they don’t need to,” said Deputy District Attorney Brian Buckelew.
Buckelew is sounding the alarm about a rash of recent overdoses, seizures and deaths linked to the highly toxic chemical fentanyl, which is turning up in a range of fake pills across the county.
“What we’re seeing is an influx of counterfeit pills that are designed to look like the real pharmaceutical brands that are in fact fake, they contain none of the active ingredient of the traditional brands and they are killing a lot of people in Santa Clara County,” he said.
Nine deaths so far, four alone in August, including two teenagers. Law enforcement has seized large numbers of fake 30-milligram percocet pills, containing fentanyl, rather than oxycodone.
They look just like the real thing.
They’re blue or green with an “m” inside a square stamped on one side and a “30” on the other side.
“The consumers take them thinking they’re going to get a certain high but what they don’t know is that the pills are in fact poison and will kill them,” the deputy district attorney said.
Fentanyl is 80-100 times more powerful than morphine and exposure to even a tiny amount can cause overdose and death.
It’s not just fake percocet.
Fentanyl is also turning up in cheap, easy to find counterfeit xanax and other pills — all potentially lethal says buckelew.
“We’re seeing it in powdered cocaine, we’re seeing it in methamphetamine, we’re seeing it in ecstacy, heroin, all by itself, we’re seeing it all over the place,” Buckelew said.