NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued a public alert after the agency discovered cocaine laced with fentanyl.
“The dangers of fentanyl cannot be understated. Today we have a new reason to be concerned. For the first time, our crime lab has tested several samples of cocaine that have also tested positive for fentanyl or one of its analogs, ” said Assistant TBI Director TJ Jordan.
Agents told News 2 that dealers are using a machine called a kilo press and mixing high-grade cocaine with the fentanyl, which doubles their quantity and increases their profit.
According to the TBI, the samples were found in both Middle and East Tennessee.
“The very real fact that it is in the supply is cause for concern,” TBI spokesman Josh DeVine said.
In certain doses, fentanyl can be 50 to 100 times as potent as morphine and even a small amount the size of a grain of salt mixed with cocaine could be deadly.
The drug doesn’t necessarily need to be ingested to have an effect and it can absorb through the skin, so touching the substance can quickly put an individual at risk of opioid overdose.
“This is not something to mess around with. It’s not worth taking the risk,” Jordan said. “To be blunt, what you might buy and use thinking it’s a good time could cost you your life.”
News 2 spoke with Patrick O’Shea who is a recovered drug addict. He now uses his life experience to help others through the rehabilitation process at Addiction Campuses.
He said at one time he was a cocaine user and that the TBI’s alert about cocaine laced with fentanyl is horrifying.
“When you come off an opiate, imagine the worst flu you have ever had, times it by 100 and that is your detox from an opioid. Now, they are adding not only a dangerous opioid, but a highly addictive and highly fatal drug fentanyl, that can kill people,” said O’Shea.
O’Shea told News 2 that from his personal and professional experience, the impact of this latest development could have devastating outcomes for people struggling with addiction, recreational drug users and their families.
“The biggest fear with mixing fentanyl with cocaine is that a person that may be using cocaine recreational this whole time, and they do whatever amount they do, will do the same amount they normally do, but because it has that added drug of fentanyl in there, it is a different high, and its possibly fatal because you don’t know how much fentanyl you are ingesting,” said O’Shea.
Anyone struggling with drug addiction issues should contact the Tennessee REDLINE at 1-800-889-9789.