In a new warning to law enforcement, first responders are told to be on the lookout for new, potentially deadly, pills making their way onto the streets already leading to overdoses in the metro.
The email marked unclassified but law enforcement sensitive, says the pills are made and stamped to look like the opioid pain killer Lortab but they're “actually fentanyl, a much stronger opiate”.
Also, it warns fentanyl is also being disguised as Oxycodone.
“It's an alarming trend that we're seeing with fatal, fatal consequences,” EMSA spokesperson Bryan Bottom said.
Bottom also worked as a paramedic for several years before becoming an agency spokesperson.
According to EMSA, opioid overdoses have spiked in the last two years a part of the fast growing number of opioid and heroin addicts. That number is on the rise so quickly that first responders are carrying the drug Narcan, a brand name for naloxone, which can help stop an overdose before it's too late.
“We have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of Narcan that's being used and that goes straight back to the amount of opioid overdoses we're seeing,” Bottom said.
On average, opioid addiction and overdoses kill two Oklahomans a day. Addiction rates here are so high the U.S. surgeon general Dr. Vivek Murthy made a visit to Oklahoma City last month calling opioid abuse a public health crisis.
“Dispose of opioids, locking up opioids that are currently being used and not sharing with friends and family members, even with the best of intentions,” Murthy said.