Deadly Fentanyl Increasingly Found In Cocaine
Fentanyl-laced cocaine is causing overdoses all across the country, and leaving a trail of unexpected death and heartbreak.
As reported by NPR, a pipe was the only sign of drug use found near Chris Bennett’s body in November. But it looked like the 32-year-old Taunton, Mass., native had stopped breathing and died of an opioid overdose. Bennett’s mother, Liisa, couldn’t understand what happened. Then she saw the toxicology report.
“I’m convinced he was smoking cocaine that was laced,” she says. “That’s what he had in his system, [it] was cocaine and fentanyl.”
Liisa Bennett was shocked. Chris had developed an addiction to pain pills and then heroin in his late teens but had not used opioids for at least 10 years, as far as she knew. Bennett had warned her son that if he ever used opioids again, he’d be in greater danger of an overdose because fentanyl, an opioid drug more powerful than heroin, was mixed into much of the supply.
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It’s not clear how many of the nearly 2,000 estimated deaths listed as opioid overdoses last year in Massachusetts represent people who thought they were doing cocaine. The state doesn’t register drug combinations found in most bodies after an overdose.
Connecticut does. There, the number of deaths involving cocaine and fentanyl together has increased 420 percent in the past three years. Heroin laced with fentanyl claimed even more lives in Connecticut during that same period.
In Massachusetts, an increasing amount of cocaine laced with fentanyl is changing hands on the streets. State police recorded 199 such samples last year, a nearly threefold increase from 2016 — but still a small percentage of total cocaine seizures.
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To learn more about the spread of fentanyl-laced cocaine, please visit NPR.