Fentanyl Disguised as Norco Strikes Sacramento Community Hard

The Sacramento County Division of Public Health is warning the public about a sharp increase in opioid-related overdoses in the past 2 weeks.

The Sacramento County Division of Public Health is warning the public about a sharp increase in opioid-related overdoses in the past 2 weeks.

So far, 42 overdoses have been reported to the Division of Public Health, and 10 people are suspected to have died because of pills that were disguised as acetaminophen/hydrocodone (Norco) but really contained fentanyl. Nine of the deaths were in Sacramento County, and 1 was reported in Yolo County.

The gender breakdown was around even between men and women, and the age range of those who overdosed was between 16 to 67 years.

“Some who have taken it stated that they were told that it was Norco,” the Division of Public Health press release reported. “However, results just released indicate that some of the pills that were retrieved have been tested and show that they did not contain hydrocodone or acetominophen. The lab was able to identify the pills as containing fentanyl instead.”

Some of the patients who were hospitalized for overdose have returned home.

Individuals who used the drugs said they received them from strangers, neighbors, or friends.

The Division of Public Health reminded the public that opioid overdose may present as unresponsiveness, trouble breathing, skin that turns blue, vomiting, and pinpoint pupils.

Naloxone should be administered if an individual overdoses, but the Division of Public Health cautioned that police should be called even if naloxone is administered, because a patient may relapse even after a reversal.

“Some individuals had needed multiple doses of naloxone,” the press release stated.

An earlier press release from March 25, 2016, stated that the Division of Public Health received reports of 12 overdoses, associated with these tablets, in 48 hours.

Fentanyl is especially dangerous because it is odorless and is not easily distinguishable from a product that is not contaminated with fentanyl. It is around 80 times as potent as morphine and “hundreds of times more potent than heroin,” according to the Division of Public Health.