Fentanyl-laced heroin crisis in Philadelphia

Fentanyl-laced heroin crisis in Philadelphia

By Julianne Cassidy. CREATED May 13, 2014

Philadelphia has officially warned heroin users that there is a deadly drug combination being sold in the city. Heroin laced with fentanyl has killed 28 residents between March 3 and April 20, with additional cases pending.

Fentanyl, an intense painkiller, is typically administered through a patch attached to skin. Fentanyl is reportedly 50 times stronger than the drug heroin.

"The powerful narcotic, which is meant to treat extreme pain, was implicated in 269 deaths in 2006 in Philadelphia. It killed more than 2,000 people across the country that year," reports The Inquirer. The deceased ranged in age from 16 to 66 years old and came from Northeast Philadelphia in addition to South and Southwest Philadelphia.

According to The Inquirer, "Roland Lamb, director of the city Office of Addiction Services, said he found the new spike in deaths 'very concerning,' and wants to avoid a repeat of [a similar] 2006 epidemic." 

The fentanyl-laced heroin has not yet been traced to a producer or supplier. Buyers may not know they are purchasing this lethal combination.