KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Kansas, police are issuing a warning about a recent increase in suspected overdoses linked to fentanyl.
The police department said Monday that illegal prescription drugs laced with the highly potent drug are being sold to people, including teenagers.
“We need the public to be aware that this warning is not just for those who are buying illegal fentanyl, but any type of opioid such as OxyContin, Vicodin or morphine, as there is a very real danger that they may have been cut or laced with fentanyl to increase their potency,” Capt. Richard Harris said in a news release. “KCK is not unique; the increase in fentanyl overdoses and deaths is being seen across the United States. We have amateur pharmacists out on the street who clearly don’t know what they are doing, because they are creating lethal doses in a single pill."
This year, KCK has reported 41 suspected overdoses — nearly double the 23 overdoses reported in the city for all of 2019. Nine people have died, including two people under the age of 17 in the last month.
"We are urging the public, especially parents, and anyone who has contact with young people, to pass this warning along," Harris said. "Hesitating to seek medical attention, even seconds, after ingesting one of these tainted pills can mean certain death."
Fentanyl typically is prescribed to treat severe pain, according to KCK police, and it is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Users can overdose in as little as a few minutes, leaving little time to seek medical attention.
Anyone with information on the drug or potential overdoses is encouraged to call the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department Narcotics Hotline at 913-573-6287 or the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).