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
“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
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.