Powdered fentanyl is a problem encountered by the Dayton Police Narcotics Bureau and The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Range Task Force during drug seizures. FILE
Photo: CHRIS STEWART/PHOTO
Photo: CHRIS STEWART/PHOTO

Fentanyl disguised as prescription meds prompts local overdose warning

Local police are seeing powdered fentanyl pressed into pill form, prompting a warning Monday from Dayton Police and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Range Task Force.

Following an investigation, the agencies learned that blue fentanyl powder is being made to look like prescription oxycodone hydrochloride with M30 markings.

The pills are then sold as prescription oxycodone on the street, which could lead to a fatal overdose, based on the amount and type of fentanyl pressed into a pill.

MORE: Feds: Dayton man caught trafficking newer Chinese fentanyl drug

The Community Overdose Action Team was established to address the opioid crisis in Montgomery County and to reduce the number of fatal overdoses.

“The Community Overdose Action Team reminds you that any illegal drug you purchase and use could contain fentanyl,” the agency said in the statement. “Fentanyl is a highly potent drug which greatly increases your chance of an overdose. It is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin.”

Christine Ton, media director for the sheriff’s office, said the blue fentanyl powder has become popular because, “It is more potent than heroin and cheaper to buy.”

It is just one one of several drugs showing up frequently in drug seizures in the area, Ton said.

“We routinely see meth, fentanyl, marijuana and are also running across cocaine,” Ton said. “Crack and heroin are also located frequently.”

MORE: Dayton cut overdose deaths in half — and learned these lessons to prevent another crisis

A spate of new federal drug trafficking indictments, complaints and seizures illustrate the growing opiate and drug epidemic in southwest Ohio, according to a federal attorney.

This month, a Dayton man is alleged to have trafficked valeryl fentanyl, a relatively new Chinese analogue of the opioid that has ravaged the area in recent years.

“We are prosecuting more and more fentanyl-related narcotics-trafficking cases, both in Dayton and district-wide,” said Benjamin Glassman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. “Fentanyl and its analogs are incredibly dangerous and are at the heart of the overdoses and deaths plaguing our region.”

As the increase of fentanyl use plagues communities around the state, on Monday the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy’s Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS), released a report showing that the number of prescription opioids dispensed to Ohioans declined for the sixth consecutive year in 2018.

From 2012 to 2018, the total number of opioids dispensed to Ohio patients decreased by 325 million doses or 41 percent. During the same period, the total number of opioid prescriptions issued to Ohioans decreased by 4.6 million, according to the report.

The report also finds prescribers and pharmacists using OARRS at record levels. In 2018, more than 142 million patient reports were requested by healthcare providers. With such expanded use of the system, the number of Ohioans engaging in doctor shopping behavior decreased by 89 percent last year.

“We all have a role to play in battling this public health crisis, and this continued downward trend in opioid prescriptions demonstrates that Ohio’s prescribers are making significant progress in their efforts to prevent addiction,” said Gov. Mike DeWine.

MORE: Families of Addicts founder: Dayton turned crisis into success story

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