Illegal drug mixes showing up in Tennessee could be lethal, say investigators

(Courtesy: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Rare blends of toxic drugs are being found across the state. Two recent submissions to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have agents concerned that there are more lethal mixtures of drugs being sold and used.

An TBI investigator told News 2 they have found cocaine laced with fentanyl, and now they are finding meth laced with fentanyl.

PREVIOUS: TBI says recent drug evidence samples ‘don’t even make sense’

“We are seeing a variety of concoctions that are just deadly recipes. We are starting to see, everyday something new. It’s just the flavor of the day,” T.J. Jordan Assistant Director of the TBI’s Drug Investigation Division told News 2.

(Courtesy: TBI)

The latest two toxic drug blends that forensic scientists at the TBI labs are investigating is a mix they have rarely, if ever, seen in evidence submissions. Jordan says the latest mixtures don’t make sense.

“We are perplexed, we are perplexed by it, because you’ve got uppers and downers together and what not,” he explained.

One evidence sample submitted contained a combination of ketamine, tramadol, cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl. Another sample was powder that tested positive for a mixture of methamphetamine, acrylfentanyl, and methoxyacetylfentanyl.

“What they are doing is they are using different analogs of fentanyl. You’ve got fentanyl and then you’ve got analog, and analogs are basically compounds that are similar, but then from the elemental stand point they are different substances,” said Jordan.

He says the more substances, the more dangerous the drug and that adding these substances are cheaper for the dealer and more addictive for the user.

“The probability of facing death as a result of these concoctions is becoming higher and higher as more drugs are being laced with them.”

Jordan says the evolution of drugs seems to be changing daily. Fentanyl originated in China, but he says now more of it is coming from Mexico.

(Courtesy: TBI)

“We’ve got a crisis across the country as it relates to opioid addiction, opioid prescriptions. It went from that to heroin, then heroin laced with fentanyl to then counterfeit pills that are concoctions of a number of ingredients to include fentanyl in some of these very deadly substances.”

To accommodate the drug evolution, he says the TBI is having to change protocol to respond to the deadly mixtures that are being found.

Jordan says not only are these deadly mixtures a danger for the public, but for first responders, EMTs, medical professionals and others.

“We have put in protocol for our evidence submissions to the lab, how it’s being handled in the lab, our agents out in the field. We’ve changed the protocol there on handling evidence, we are having to revamp our whole process as it relates to standard operation procedure because of this very issue.”

Jordan adds that they’ve even had to re-evaluate how they conduct business. Pointing out there was a point in time where undercover officers would conduct hand to hand deals, but they’ve had to step back and look at other options.

The TBI urges anyone struggling with drug addiction issues to contact the Tennessee REDLINE at 1-800-889-9789.