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Fentanyl-Related Overdose Spike In Lane Co. Prompts Real Talk

Eugene Police Department

Investigations in Eugene/Springfield continue over a recent rash of overdoses related to fentanyl. Some deaths are reportedly associated with fake prescription pills believed to contain the powerful drug. 

So far in May, the Eugene-Springfield Fire Department has received more than 50 overdose calls. Battalion Chief Mike Caven said in his 18 years in emergency service, he’s learned these spikes come and go.

“Until word gets out either by experience within the groups using the drugs or public education that, ‘hey, be one the look out. Make sure you trust your source, right?” he said.

Two 17-year old Eugene residents were found dead on May 15th- believed to have accidentally overdosed on fentanyl pills made to look like Xanax.

Caven said young people are commonly victims however

Credit Eugene Police Department
The M on one side and the 30 on the other are stamped to make the pill appear to be Oxycodone Hydrochloride, which is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. The pills pictured here are fake and actually contain Fentanyl.

“I think you really get worried when those who you’ve treated in the past, who are you know experienced users, get caught with something that they weren’t anticipating and when they overdose you realize that there’s something up with the supply,” he said. 

In most cases, users either acclimate to new batches or just get wise to them. Cavin called treatment the “ideal solution” because when it comes to some illicit drugs, “you just don’t know” what you’re taking.  

Fentanyl is many times stronger than morphine or heroin.

Eugene Police spokesperson Melinda McLaughlin said fake prescription drugs can be identified by the color and stamping on the pills. She said actual prescription drugs are     white or very light blue. The fentanyl pills 

Credit Eugene Police Department
Pills in this photo are blueish colored bars with B707 imprinted on them. B707 normally indicates Xanax, but these pills are fake and most likely contain Fentanyl, police say.

police are recovering are bright blue and unprofessional in appearance.

Officials in Lane, Lincoln and Coos counties have issued public advisories about the lethal fakes. 

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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