DEA warns of newly encountered fentanyl-like drug in Arizona

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Posted at 10:05 AM, Dec 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-29 10:22:04-05

The Drug Enforcement Administration is warning the community of several suspected overdoses in Arizona that have been linked to a newly encountered fentanyl-like drug.

The fentanyl analogue, known as para-fluorofentanyl (pFF), is considered to be very strong and powerful, according to the DEA. It is regulated under the emergency scheduling of fentanyl-related substances.

Fentanyl analogues are modified in their chemical structure and have similar effects to fentanyl. These analogues can be mixed with other illicit substances like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl.

Clinical research indicates that pFF can possibly be much stronger than fentanyl, according to the DEA.

Authorities believe pFF is intentionally created in clandestine production facilities run by Mexican drug trafficking organizations.

Eleven recent suspected overdose deaths testing positive for fentanyl analogue, pFF, were reported by the Chief Medicolegal Death Investigator with the Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner in December 2020.

In these 11 cases, other illicit drugs were also present, the DEA added.

“Para-fluorofentanyl is yet another dangerous and lethal drug produced by Mexican drug cartels. The drug cartels continue to sell synthetic opioids like pFF in order to get rich while thousands of Americans die every year. DEA and our law enforcement partners are tirelessly fighting to stop this poison from entering our communities and ending up in the hands of our loved ones,” said Cheri Oz, Special Agent in Charge of DEA in Arizona.

The DEA says the local supplier of the pFF remains unknown at this time but agents believe para-fluorofentanyl could possibly be present in other regions in Arizona aside from Maricopa County.

If you have any information related to pFF, may contact the local DEA office at 571-362-5600 to speak with a duty agent.

To visit their website, click here.