DEA warns agencies of drugs laced with Fentanyl

Posted at 6:20 PM, May 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 00:25:04-04

It’s coming in by the loads and if it isn’t seized by DEA agents, then it's out on the streets.

“These things are killing people left and right," said Special Agent Doug Coleman, with the Drug Enforcement Agency, talking about heroin. “Things are going to get a lot worse before it gets better."

For drug enforcement agents, it's no longer just about stopping individual drugs, like heroin, methamphetamine, or cocaine. Cartels are adding substances to make those base drugs more potent. 

“So they will spice it up. Fentanyl is the spice of that heroin product,” said Coleman.

Heroin laced with Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than normal heroin and comes in many forms. The newest version is W-18, which is 10,000 times stronger.

That spiced up version can be seen in meth and cocaine as well.

“These drugs are so powerful, if you get it on your skin it can cause an overdose,” Coleman said.

Even mixing it is dangerous. If you breath it in, it can kill you.

What’s even scarier, the users don't even know if the drug they're buying is laced. Agents got their hands on a white powder substance today and tested the drugs to see if it contained Fentanyl.

Tests revealed the batch was 4 million doses of lethal Fentanyl. The discovery led DEA to warning all law enforcement. 

“We have to treat all [seized drug shipments] as if it could possibly be laced,” said Coleman.

Coleman’s message is not just for the police but also users. He's warning them that their next hit could be their last.

“We want the addicts using these drugs to realize: If it is laced with Fentanyl and you take too much of it, you will die,” said Coleman.

Officials say prescription pill addition is where the problem starts.

In 2014, 5.2 million prescriptions were written in Arizona. 

Until that’s addressed, Coleman says the heroin problem won’t go away.